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Dvorak on How Microsoft Can Kill Linux 842

Posted by Zonk
from the i-miss-silicon-spin dept.
gewg_ writes "John C. Dvorak thinks he knows the way Redmond can kill Linux. Basing his premise on the relative dearth of device drivers available for Linux (compared to what is available for Windows), he sees an opportunity for the Borg to embrace and extinguish." From the article: "The immediate usefulness of Linux running under Windows is obvious. You can use all the Windows drivers for all the peripherals that don't run under Linux. Drivers have always been an issue with Linux as PC users have gotten spoiled with Windows driver support. Today's user wants to grab just about anything and not worry about installing it and making it work."
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Dvorak on How Microsoft Can Kill Linux

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  • vmware (Score:5, Interesting)

    by codepunk (167897) on Friday February 25, 2005 @12:56PM (#11778473)
    Sounds like vmware to me....nope did not kill linux and likely never will...
    • cygwin (Score:4, Informative)

      by scovetta (632629) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:20PM (#11778856) Homepage
      Actually, it sounds more like cygwin. Run your linux apps on Windows. That didn't kill Linux either.
    • by PopeAlien (164869) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:33PM (#11779039) Homepage Journal
      What about requiring everyone who installs linux to call in and answer a bunch of stupid questions [slashdot.org] before they can use it?

  • -1 Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Golias (176380) on Friday February 25, 2005 @12:56PM (#11778475)
    Does anybody still take a word that says seriously anymore? All he ever does is troll for ad hits by saying something which will piss off one fringe group of computer geeks or another.

    Honestly. Why ever link to that joker?
  • by georgeha (43752) on Friday February 25, 2005 @12:57PM (#11778488) Homepage
    Cygwin or MS Services for Unix?

    Plus, there are quite a few hardware devices that work in Linux and not all versions of Windows, for instance my Kensington SVGA webcam, fine in Linux, not available in Win2k.
  • Don't click (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JanneM (7445) on Friday February 25, 2005 @12:58PM (#11778497) Homepage
    Please don't click the link.

    John Dvorak knows the state of Linux drivers versus Windows (or Mac) perfectly well. This is an excellent example of writing something obviously incorrect so you get a huge amount of hits and links from people that (rightly) disagree.

    Exactly like the Science Citation Index, actually, but speeded up about 20 times.
    • Re:Don't click (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cortana (588495) <sam AT robots DOT org DOT uk> on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:02PM (#11778580) Homepage
      You should RTFA. The actual quotation is "Drivers have always been an issue with Linux as PC users have gotten spoiled with Windows driver support". I don't see how a rational person can disagree with this.
      • Re:Don't click (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Recovery1 (217499) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:27PM (#11778962) Homepage
        Please. Spoiled? Ha!

        If I plug in my Yepp MP3 player (A USB device), my video camera disappears (IEEE 1394).

        I have a Soundblaster PCI 128. I have the XP drivers I DL from the website and the card doesn't work on any of the XP machines, as well as a 98 machine I plugged it into. But it works perfectly fine on my Fedora Linux machine, without any monkey business.

        I consider myself a rational person, and to my rational thinking the driver support system for windows is on crack. (that, and/or Dvorak)
    • Re:Don't click (Score:5, Informative)

      by KhaZ (160984) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:13PM (#11778774) Homepage
      If you really want to read it, but don't want to generate hits, here's a link to Google's cache (via tinyurl, to make it nicer looking. :) )

      http://tinyurl.com/4kwgr [tinyurl.com]

      Basically, I'm just looking for an easy way to get a +Something Informative. :)
  • by bigtallmofo (695287) on Friday February 25, 2005 @12:58PM (#11778505)
    John Dvorak has been in the computer industry about as long as Univac, but I really disagree with him on his points in TFA.

    The first thing I disagree with is his assertion of how useful Linux would be when running under Windows. Is anyone crying for this?

    His second assertion that Microsoft could create a flavor of Linux with their driver-base that people would adopt is just as loony. Beyond its quality nature, isn't one of the reasons people switch to Linux to get rid of Microsoft and their business practices and high prices?
    • by krgallagher (743575) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:06PM (#11778659) Homepage
      "His second assertion that Microsoft could create a flavor of Linux with their driver-base that people would adopt is just as loony. Beyond its quality nature, isn't one of the reasons people switch to Linux to get rid of Microsoft and their business practices and high prices?"

      The thing I don't get is that he acts like Microsoft owns the drivers. The hardware manufacturers own the drivers. If Linux becomes the dominant OS, hardware manufacturers will write drivers that run directly in Linux. Why would they continue to write drivers that run in HAL when it is just a piece of cruft attached to the real OS?

    • by grahamsz (150076)
      One of microsofts biggest assets is that fact that people are familiar with their UI and reluctant to change.

      If a user run MS-Linux and liked it, then they could make sure their next system had hardware that could run gpl-linux.

      And I really doubt microsoft would move down a pathway of familiarizing people with linux.
    • Also, one point I may add....there's no use for Microsoft to do such a thing because it's ALREADY been done. DSL(Damn Small Linux) is a very useful Linux distro that runs under QEMU off of a USB Thumb drive. It also fits everything, Linux Kernel, Bash, X windows a browser....most of what you'd like in 50 MB. Linux not being useful running on top of Windows? I use this all of the time at work. Have it and my SSH keys for the server on the key and if I am in someone's office and need to log into the serv
  • Not exactly... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The One KEA (707661) on Friday February 25, 2005 @12:59PM (#11778509) Journal
    I'll readily admit as soon as the next person that Linux doesn't support all of the latest & greatest hardware. That doesn't mean that it doesn't support last-generation hardware though - as long as you do research and buy the right sort of hardware, you can usually build a system where almost every piece is well-supported by any given Linux distro.

    Companies like Intel and ATi are examples of how the hardware manufacturers are realizing that Linux users want to use their hardware too.
    • by airship (242862) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:16PM (#11778805) Homepage
      While I agree that Dvorak is a blowhard, he does have a point about Linux hardware support. I recently compared a dozen different install-from-CD distros, and only one supported my ASUS motherboard's on-board sound and video correctly. None had support for my Canon scanner, which I realize is Canon's fault. But don't tell me I need to buy a new scanner to be able to migrate to Linux. Your average Joe just wants to plug-n-play, and to me that's one of the two real advantages Windows has over Linux.
      The other? Software. There are still some tremendous voids in the software area. There is no equivalent to Visio (yes, I've tried Dia and it's cute, but it's not Visio), and the Gimp isn't Photoshop or even Paint Shop Pro. Linux needs more apps like Firefox, Thunderbird, and OpenOffice that can really bridge the gap, and can offer clear advantages over Windows applications.
  • by Khan (19367) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:00PM (#11778525)
    "Today's user wants to grab just about anything and not worry about installing it and making it work."

    If they want to just install a device and go, then why are they bothering with Windows? Isn't that what Apple OS X is for?
    • Not *any* device (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)
      Im a mac fan too, but if the device isnt blessed by Apple, it may not work well, or at all.

      If it is blessed, then it works like magic..
    • by Albanach (527650) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:31PM (#11779009) Homepage
      You made me think of a recent experience installing an iPod.

      Under FC3 I plug it in, the computer automatically recognises an Ipod has been plugged in and makes the folder /media/iPod I type yum install gtkpod and I have a working iPod in under 2 minutes.

      Over on Windows - and I'm not sure if this is the same on an Apple - it took about fifteen minutes of copying software from CD, signing up online, agreeing to several licenses, entering the serial number at least two times in different places...

      I've had similar experiences with a Samsung laser printer that 'just worked' on linux but took an age to install on windows.

      While I'll admit not everything is supported under Linux, of the stuff that is it seems a heck of a lot easier o get it running than with Windows.

      • Over on Windows - and I'm not sure if this is the same on an Apple - it took about fifteen minutes of copying software from CD, signing up online, agreeing to several licenses, entering the serial number at least two times in different places...

        Uh, what? Serial number?

        Well, so you know, on a Mac you just plug in the iPod and iTunes asks if you want to associate the iPod with the current library, click yes and it feeds the iPod.

        You have to agree to iTunes license the first time you use iTunes, just lik

      • So you compare manually installing a hacky little 'gtkpod' to:
        • automatically installing the fairly professional iTunes
        • registering the device

        Okay, so it was only two things, why bother with the list. Methinks your 15 minute adventure was due to either your slow typing or a slow CD-Rom drive. Did you count the time it took you to figure out that 'gtkpod' was the correct/best software to install under Fedora?

        I like OSS as much as the next guy (unless the next guy is RMS), but the incorrect Windows to L

  • by 14erCleaner (745600) <FourteenerCleaner@yahoo.com> on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:00PM (#11778534) Homepage Journal
    What he's saying is, if Microsoft starts supporting Linux that Linux will go away?

    If that were true, why hasn't Windows gone away?

    Dvorak thinks that open-source developers will stop working on their stuff if they perceive it as benefitting Microsoft. I say this is obviously not true; there are many, many projects now that run on Windows (like Firefox, just to pick one major example), and their developers don't seem the least bit deterred by running on Windows.

  • by DeathFlame (839265) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:00PM (#11778538)
    "John A. Qwerty thinks he knows the way Linux can kill Redmond. Basing his premise on the relative dearth of device drivers available..."
  • Doubtful (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hornsby (63501) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:01PM (#11778556) Homepage
    This analysis is relatively shortsighted considering that there are many many factors beyond device drivers influencing people to use Linux. I would say that freedom from proprietary protocols and file formats is a major factor, and that's something Redmond will never have.
  • by blirp (147278) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:01PM (#11778558)
    What he's missing is projects like NDisWrapper [sourceforge.net] that simply allows us to run standard proprietary Windows drivers on Linux.

    M.

  • by Caligari (180276) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:02PM (#11778573) Homepage
    Oh no! Top secret M$ project to "kill" Linux!

    Its called Cooperative Linux, and has been around for quite some time.

    www.colinux.org [colinux.org]

    Yet, suspiciously, the Linux kernel running on my laptop hasn't spontaneously died. Hmm. This Dvorak chap is quite the retard.

  • by YellowElf (445681) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:02PM (#11778584)
    Dvorak seems to have these amazing insights from time to time, but I can't seem to remember one that really came to fruition. In the aritcle, he makes all these assumptions about technology but he doesn't know what he's talking about. Then he uses his unfounded assumptions to conclude that all MS needs to do is embrace and extend Linux. For a more thorough discussion on this very article, see this discussion on Groklaw [groklaw.net]. Search for the second "Dvorak". --dv
  • by cheesedog (603990) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:06PM (#11778656)
    Dvorak makes a couple of assumptions that immediately betray his lack of knowledge:

    1) Linux device drivers are a big problem

    and

    2) Putting Windows PnP in Linux would be an easy task

    I have a problem with #1 because, well, I haven't had a problem with device drivers for years. The first thing I do with a new computer (and I've gone through 5, from Dell and HP, in the last few years) is reformat, install Windows, and then install Linux. Guess which one is easier to install? Guess which one requires special driver disks and arcane "press-F8-at-the-right-time-during-the-install" crazieness to get things working? That's right: windows. With Linux, stick the CD in, click a few buttons, and done.

    The problem with #2 should be obvious to everyone: one of the main tasks of an OS is to manage devices. Look at the code in the kernel that does this. Sure, there's other important stuff (vfs, memory management, process management, etc), but if you count the lines, the heaviest piece of the OS is device driver management. Ripping this out and sticking in Redmonds garbage would be disastrous.

    Now, user-mode linux is a different beast. Even virtualizing the hardware could get things to work correctly under Dvorak's scheme without so much effort. But what he suggests is not only ludicrous, its outright silly, and really illustrates how out of touch he is with how technology works.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:07PM (#11778662)
    Okay, BFOTO (blinding flash of the obvious):
    If MS developed an "MS Linux" as described, it would be one of many distributions. Even if it became "the dominant" one (the only good use for which would be to use the Windows drivers for devices Linux lacks driver support for), then stops supporting drivers for their own flavor of Linux... ummm... hmmm... what would happen? Oh -
    Dvorak suggests that this somehow magically kills *all* of the different flavors of Linux. (Not *nix, he mentions only Linux).
    He also alludes to some heretofore unknown, undiscovered-but-for-M$-lawyers hole in the GPL that would somehow allow M$ to pry Linux from the hands of the community into its control.
    I RTFA'd twice, but John, you lost me on this. I can only guess you were looking for more hits to your column website from ./. I got suckered... Ad revenue whore, anyone...
  • by HogynCymraeg (624823) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:09PM (#11778686)
    I had a new hard disk a while back and I installed XP and Suse 9.2 on it.
    Windows XP took around 15 mins to install, with a couple of reboots. I then installed my nvidia drivers. Rebooted. I then installed my firewall. Rebooted. I then installed the drivers for the cisco aironet card. Rebooted. I then installed the drivers for my Delta-Audio 1010LT soundcard. Rebooted. I spent over an hour installing all the drivers I needed to make my system *functional*.
    Suse took ~20-25 mins to install with all the software I wanted. When I logged in, everything just worked...

    People say they use windows because it just works. Bull. It's just that people have been conditioned to accept that installing drivers is not part of the installation process.

    There may be more drivers available for windows, but I'll stick with the linux way of doing things and buy cautiously.
  • effect of the GPL (Score:5, Informative)

    by DM9290 (797337) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:09PM (#11778687) Journal
    the article said:
    "Well, except for the fact that Microsoft would be unable to produce such a product without allowing the other vendors access to the driver code as part of the open-source Linux license arrangement (GPL)."

    If the device drivers are not derived from any GPL code (and as they is currently proprietary, presumably they are not GPL derived), then Microsoft can make a version of Linux which uses the drivers. The modified linux is based on GPL code (i.e. the base linux kernal) and the modified linux is based on propietary code (device drivers).

    GPL does not require that copyright holder of the original software to agree to anything (in respect of the original software). Only the author of the derived software (in respect of the derived work) agrees to license the software under the GPL.

    This artical is simply FUD.

    Proprietary device drivers which work under linux today.

    Moreover: The majority of device drivers in MS Windows are not even owned by microsoft at all, but belong to the companies which manufacture the respective devices, and licensed to Microsoft.
  • Drivers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:09PM (#11778692)
    I was getting my shots for international travel at a county health clinic yesterday. Every terminal in this clinic (as probably every other one in the state) were running flat screen Windows systems that had one application: some sort of terminal server that logged into the mainframe where every financial, medical, and information app was running in text-only mode. The likely reason for this purchase was that some company offered sexy-cool flat screen machines with a promise that they'd work to make the mainframe app work 100% in the same manner.

    My favorite two bookshops have web based terminals that allow a user to search for a book and not bug the employees. One is unable to get out of these screens and into Windows, but one can tell by the sound, cursors, and occasional reboots that they are really win machines running underneath.

    All of this reminds me of those days in the 1980's when everyone was putting Apple ][ based end user terminals in their shops, but the app or utility that was being served was pretty trivial. When the Apple clones came out (like Franklin and their ilk) the expensive Apple hardware started going away. (You could tell on those machines because there were ways to crash the system or "break" into basic and see whose hardware it was.

    My guess is that ultimately on web based terminals and other mainframe terminal services, that there's a huge market of machines that are being sold on price alone. As long as there are "some" varieties of cheap hardware that run with Linux, I can't see this ever becoming a lock-in... price is just too important for some people. To those markets, it's the lucrative OS that will fall out of fashion in favor of the cheap and functional alternative.
  • Never gonna happen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:11PM (#11778731)
    This week-old story from OSNews is pointless. Microsoft would never do that, because it would acknowledge that an opponent was on the level of Windows.

    Look how Microsoft very rarely mentions Linux, and barely mentions OS X at all (if ever). Microsoft's voice is heard by so many pointy-haired bosses that to talk about someone or release a product based around them is to give free advertising. Granted, they make an Office for Mac, but you'd never know it if you weren't a Mac user.
  • scambled, as usual (Score:3, Interesting)

    by motorsabbath (243336) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:12PM (#11778757) Homepage
    "Today's user wants to grab just about anything and not worry about installing it and making it work."

    Funny how it only really works that way on Linux and OSX, in my experience. Dvorak's facts clash with reality, as usual...
  • by HaeMaker (221642) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:13PM (#11778762) Homepage
    Get a number of large Fortune [linuxworld.com.au] 500 [builderau.com.au] companies to commit to switching to Linux. Then hardware and software developers will say, "Hmmm... If I want to sell into these companies, I have to support Linux."
  • by catdevnull (531283) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:18PM (#11778835)
    Of course, this is the guy who has pronounced Apple as dead more than once. [pcmag.com] What value is the opinion of a pin-headed pundit? Wow. I was like, a poet there.

    Anyway, MS-Linux? W(hy)TF would I use that? The reason people use Linux is usually to get away from Windows and it's diseases. Why would I run Linux as a subjugated app under an inferior kernel design on a server? To enhance security? Ha!

    Dvorak says "MS Linux would quickly become the dominant linux distribution." He pulled that right out of his arse. Does he think that many people would actually buy Linux from Microsoft when it's available for FREE elsewhere?

    John C. Dvorak--I think you over estimate MS's position to dominate a market that's based on not being Microsoft.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:18PM (#11778840) Homepage Journal
    So what Redmond has to do is invest billions of stockholder dollars to develop a product they know they will kill once it kills everyone else and most of their own customer base is stranded in a no man's land of neither Windows mor Linux.

    I haven't heard logic like that since Metallica sued their own fans.

    MS is a closed company making closed products. The only way they can 'kill' Linux is to:

    1) Be safer, faster more stable
    2) Cheaper
    3) Easier to manage

    They already lost on 1 & 2 but they are winning on 3.

    To be fair though there are whole categories of drivers that Linux does not do a great job with. Like Wacom tablets. The official Linux driver is source code you get from sourceforge and build it yourself. Lots of sound cards don't work, etc..
  • by solios (53048) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:20PM (#11778864) Homepage
    So here's my 3 day old OSN comment:

    Dvorak is right about as often as it rains lava in New York.

    Somebody who's been predicting the death of the Macintosh since TCP/IP stacks were still third-party user-installed add-ons thinks he knows where computing is going? The only thing separating him from a blathering retard in a homeless shelter is that whoever's paying him is even less cluefull than he is. :D
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:22PM (#11778898) Journal
    Linux supports new hardware like wireless routers, lots of multimedia devices, etc, and he thinks MS making a Linux distro with a proprietary driver layer for a bit better compatibility will "kill Linux"? He can't have understood much of why so many people use Linux and not Windows. Why they even struggle to get stuff that don't work as easily on Linux, but still don't say "bah" and switch to Windows.
  • by popo (107611) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:24PM (#11778915) Homepage
    The first step in Dvorak's strategy is for Microsoft to build a separate 'commercial driver-layer' for Linux. His prediction: if Microsoft builds this 'essential' layer, a large portion of Linux revenues will go towards Microsoft and developers will therefore lose interest.

    Let's put aside for a moment the fact that a major focus on Linux development would be disastrous for Microsoft (It would essentially encourage a mass migration from Windows servers), Dvorak makes some ridiculous blind leaps in assuming that an MS driver layer would [a] Become dominant (based upon what? Microsoft's proven ability to write superior code?) and [b] even if MS succeeded, that their success would cause the entire Linux world to pack up and go elsewhere.

    Is Dvorak's supposition that all Linux development is driven merely by the desire to "not" give Microsoft any more cash? Funny, I thought it was to build a stable, faster, and open-sourced OS.

    Developing yet another commercial add-on, hardly negates Linux's core mission and value. It would however negate the mission and core value of Windows Servers.

    I say go for it Microsoft. Let's see who wins.
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:29PM (#11778992) Homepage Journal
    What Dvorak describes is too much work. Microsoft doesn't need to kill Linux to maintain dominance at all. In short all they really have to do is create their own Linux distribution, just like anyone else can, and then port Office to it. All of this can be done without violating the GPL or open sourcing Office. Office is the real source of MS power after all, people need Windows to run Office.

    Even if the MS Linux distribution were no better than any other, people would still buy it and/or support contracts preferentially over any other. Most people always play it safe. MS could still support Windows if they wanted to, or they could gradually phase it out. If they play nice, they could cut their development costs by leveraging the vast open source development community. So far, IBM has been able to embrace Linux and open source without killing their business, I think Microsoft can do the same. Developers didn't abandon Linux when IBM and Novell joined the party and I doubt they will if Microsoft joined in too. Indeed, a lot of Windows developers would be pulled along too. The question is whether Microsoft is brave enough to let go of the Windows security blanket.
  • by Snart Barfunz (526615) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:37PM (#11779087)
    Dvorak's prophetic genius is awesome. Microsoft is working on Linux under Windows and it will run on the Intel-powered Mac that he predicted with 100% certainty a couple of years ago. No doubt the power source will be derived from the manure dropped by flying pigs.
  • by eno2001 (527078) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:47PM (#11779209) Homepage Journal
    I think the main issue with what he's suggesting is that if the emulation/virtualization layer you are running Linux under doesn't have access to the device, it doesn't matter much that Windows does. Unless he's talking about a true API that would be the complete reverse of Wine (run Linux/*nix apps under Windows with complete access to all supported hardware), I don't see how this could work. Using Cygwin, I still have found limitations. You can't compile one of the Wireless (802.11a/b/g) applications for *nix under Cygwin and actually use it with a Windows driver supported wireless NIC. Or... you can't use an application that can communicate with SCSI under Linux in Cygwin. Or... you can't compile and run a 3D accelerated Linux app (game, etc...) under Cygwin and expect it to use the ATI or NVidia drivers you have installed in Windows. So MS would have to expend a great deal of resources to absorb *nix functionality into their OS that takes advantage fo their drivers. The flipside to all of this is that I think Windows has been getting more "Unixy" over time, but they just approach it from a different perspective (kind of a backwards one at times and visionary at others).
  • Linux Drivers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Phreakiture (547094) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:53PM (#11779283) Homepage

    Point 1: If Microsoft were to get into the business of writing drivers for Linux, how would that differ (aside from licensing) from purchasing commercial drivers or downloading free drivers? More importantly, how would this kill Linux? As he pointed out, commercial software already runs under Linux without any GPL implications. The community buys this software when it must, but usually develops around it.

    Point 2: I have had fewer driver problems with Linux than Windows. Windows actually seems to sometimes generate driver problems, by seeking out a very specific driver where a generic one will do fine. A good example would be the USB port on my EPIA MII-12000 motherboard. It's USB 2.0. Linux sees that it is USB 2.0, and runs it as such. 'nuf sed. Windows, on the other hand, requires that I use the driver that came with the mobo (which is not inherently a problem) and no other. Not that this is a problem, but why?

  • by famazza (398147) <fabio DOT mazzarino AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:57PM (#11779321) Homepage Journal
    • Once the developers saw that happen they'd stop working on Linux and it would die.

    Have this man ever voluteered for anything is his whole small life? Does he knows the pleasure of doing something that can make our world a better place?

    Volunteering as a free software developer is a pleasure, so developers WILL NEVER stop working on Linux. And suppose that they will, it's a very good chance for the popularity of Hurd (still incipient), and others free software OSes.

    As told before: FUD. But I'll add one more commentary. This man has shown, again, that he can't see beyond his own nose, he's simply unable to understand the point of view of others and think about how they would act, how they feel about things that they praise so much.

    He simply didn't have the effort to look for solutions similar to the "secret-projet-that-will-kill-linux" that actually runs on windows and is free. It's a mistery how this man can be a columnist so respected.

    Of course there are many good things to be said about this man. But I'll let it to other opportunity.

  • by Paul Crowley (837) on Friday February 25, 2005 @02:07PM (#11779457) Homepage Journal
    So users can have the wide range of Linux applications while enjoying the rock-solid stability of Windows?

    (Why is the Slashdot subject line limited to so few characters?)
  • by amichalo (132545) on Friday February 25, 2005 @02:37PM (#11779833)
    Should Device Drivers be the responsibility of the hardware manufacturer or the OS company?

    On the one hand, you have the market force that would make HW manufacturers want to provide quality drivers to the three OSes. On the other, you have the OS companies that want to support many drivers.
  • 3 Problems (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwin&amiran,us> on Friday February 25, 2005 @02:40PM (#11779876) Homepage Journal
    I don't have a lot of time, so I'll try to make it succinct.

    1) Windows Drivers Suck. They are often buggy, and bring the system down. I don't want my Linux system dependant on buggy Windows drivers. I'm happy with my linux system as is (yes, you have to do some research to make sure what you buy is compatible. That's life--- Be an educated consumer).

    2) Inane amount of difficult involved. The Windows driver model is VERY different from the Linux driver model. I'm not a sure a 'hybrid' is possible without a great deal of work/new code. Do you really want a Linux where MS wrote 1/3 of the Kernel?

    Especially if that portion is closed source? Who knows what bugs/exploits will lurk there. No Thanks!

    3) The Linux driver model is superior. I can take my harddisk out of my desktop (with ACPI on), and drop it into a desktop with a different processor, different network cards, different motherboard chipset (with ACPI off), different graphics card, and it'll boot. On SuSE, SaX2 will run automagically, press enter a couple times, and *Poof* you're up and running.

    Try this on Windows. Blue Screen, almost certainly.

    Does the Windows Driver Model permit dynamically loaded drivers? I think not.

    Does the Windows Driver Model require a reboot on each driver installation/upgrade? Depends on the device, but usually.

    Does the Windows Driver Model support having thousands of drivers installed simultaneously, and dynamically loading the necessary ones on demand?

    I think not.

    No thank you. MS-Linux will only draw people from Windows, not Linux.

    Once you go to the pain of making sure ALL your hardware is Linux compatible (i.e. working drivers are out there), the Linux driver model is preferable to the clunky windows driver model.

    Yes, I know there are reasons the Windows driver model is the way it is. Mainly backwards compatability. But rational != excuse.

    Linux is better, and I like it that way.
  • Nice Philosophy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cytlid (95255) on Friday February 25, 2005 @03:43PM (#11780586)
    I've always said Windows and Linux "need each other". I don't see what he's saying as happening though. His claim that MS makes a "lopped-off head" version of Linux would kill the development cycle is bogus. Think of the hardcore, community-based, non-commercial purists... the Debian, Slackware, Kernel people. Probably 90% of the Linux-people. They would never just "give up".

    He claims developers would stop developing because MS would benefit from open source projects. Umm, if I developed a killer app, and I didn't want it to run on MS-Linux, I'd stick a compile-time flag in there. Set the flag for "MS-Linux" support. How many MS-Linux users (people who want many things to work out of the box and probably want to separate themselves from the running parts) would take the time to set the flag? Bingo. Linux-Killer Killer.

  • Seems unlikely (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sjames (1099) on Friday February 25, 2005 @03:44PM (#11780606) Homepage

    GPL would be quite a problem for MS here. Binary driivers are OK IFF they use nothing but a subset of the functions exported to modules. Other useful functions are exported only to modules that declare themselves to be GPL. No promises are made that any particular function will or will not remain available to non-GPL drivers.

    The more interesting Windows drivers would be the third party ones for brand new hardware. MS doesn't own those, so if they want them to work in Linux, they'll have to come up with a full translation layer under the GPL. Native GPL drivers (by avoiding extra layers of bogosity and being open for improvement) will always be superior under Linux. For that matter, they tend to be superior to the Windows driver under Windows.

    As for availability, I find that a recent Linux kernel is MORE likely than Windows to come with the needed driver. This is especially important for network drivers where you can't just go download it if you need it. The last example I saw was for the BCM5701 network controller. That is a fairly common builtin Gig ethernet chip (especially for AMD chipsets) that Linux has supported out of the box for quite a while.

  • No said yet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shotgun (30919) on Friday February 25, 2005 @03:52PM (#11780703)
    The biggest problem with this whole idea is Micrcosoft's broken development strategy. It is a culture thing, and will see its way into any Linux hardware abstraction layer they try to develop. What I'm talking about is best explained with the video driver saga on NT.

    Windows NT, by most accounts, was a solid OS design, partitioning and securing different parts of the system from on another. But it was fast enough to beat the competition on every benchmark, so Microsoft made the fatal decision to move the video driver into the protected kernel space. Thereby, damaging the OS stability.

    They would expect to do the same to Linux. Play games and take shortcuts with the system stability, so that a fault in one system would bring the whole computer down. If they ever did try such a monstrosity, I think most user would totally reject such flotsam.

  • by inkswamp (233692) on Friday February 25, 2005 @03:54PM (#11780724)
    Why this guy is still being published is beyond me but even more puzzling is why any of his flimsy work deserves a spot on Slashdot. The man has no credibility and his "informed opinions" seem to be pulled from some region just south of his lower back. Why on earth does anyone waste their time reading his stuff?

    I'm not trolling here. It's a serious question. The guy is the quintessential know-nothing tech writer who seems to have figured out how to thrive by writing utter hogwash.

    Seriously. Name one thing in the last five years he's actually gotten right.

  • out of it as usual (Score:3, Insightful)

    by idlake (850372) on Friday February 25, 2005 @05:43PM (#11782056)
    I heard about a secret project. It concerned the development of a version of Linux that runs smoothly as a task under Windows.

    colinux.org [colinux.org]

    That said, there is no way Linux under Windows would be practical with all the overhead involved.

    It's very practical, actually.

    If Microsoft actually produced an MS-Linux that was the standard Linux attached to the driver layer of Windows, giving users full Plug and Play (PnP) support of all their peripherals, nobody would buy any other Linux on the market

    From first hand experience, I can tell you that this is not a really pleasant solution because it doesn't fix the things that are so wrong with Windows: lack of security, poor package and installer management, lousy system management interfaces, and a bad UI.

    The long-term implications of such a scenario, I believe, would be essentially to kill Linux. Microsoft's MS-Linux would quickly become the dominant Linux and the company would begin to profit from all the open-source development work that would go into Linux.

    First of all, Dvorak's premise is wrong: Linux has enormous numbers of drivers. Hardware "just works" under Linux when it requires cumbersome and flaky driver installations under Windows.

    But let's assume the premise were right. So, people have pure Linux PCs and MS-Linux PCs. Well, that means more commercial Linux usage and the ability of software vendors to standardize on the Linux APIs. The consequence? Cutting the cost of shipping Windows out of a PC becomes a more and more attractive proposition and hardware vendors would ship more and more Linux-only PCs.

    Microsoft only needs that one driver element to be proprietary for the plan to succeed.

    The flaw in that argument is that it is not Microsoft that is creating the drivers, it is the hardware vendors. Anything Microsoft does to make Linux more popular or credible will mean more Linux drivers from hardware vendors.

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