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Linux's Role In Microsoft's Decline 532

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the karma-catching-up dept.
nerdyH writes "As early as last quarter, Microsoft admitted that Linux and netbooks were eating into its fat profits. Recently, it came home, with the software giant announcing its first-ever layoffs. LinuxDevices interviewed Linux Foundation Director Jim Zemlin on Linux's role in Microsoft's misfortunes. Zemlin sums it up pretty well: 'Companies can offer their own branded software platform based on Linux. If Microsoft is getting 75 percent margins, you would like some of that high-margin business, too.'"
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Linux's Role In Microsoft's Decline

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  • Oh, Dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hardburn (141468) <hardburn@@@wumpus-cave...net> on Friday January 23, 2009 @03:52PM (#26580555)

    As early as last quarter, Microsoft admitted that Linux and netbooks were eating into its fat profits. Recently, it came home, with the software giant announcing its first-ever layoffs.

    Yeah, it couldn't be because there is a massive economic crisis going on. It's all Linux.

  • by geoffrobinson (109879) on Friday January 23, 2009 @03:53PM (#26580573) Homepage

    Of course the Linux guy will say Linux. And the Apple guy Apple. So on and so forth. And there is probably a mixture of truth to all that.

    But it would be interesting to get that internal memo.

  • Re:I dunno (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh (602064) on Friday January 23, 2009 @03:59PM (#26580679)

    I think most of their lost profits are from people negotiating lower prices because of the Linux alternative, not so much that people are actually choosing Linux.

    From TFA... Actually the first question in TFA.

    Q1 -- Jim, thank you for your support in talking with LinuxDevices today. Do you think it was really Linux that hurt Microsoft? Or was it the emergence of netbooks? XP seems to ship on most, but Microsoft isn't making much money selling XP for low-cost PCs [story], are they?

    A1 -- When an OEM negotiates a price agreement with Microsoft, they now have a viable alternative. It changes the negotiating relationship. It's a combination of Linux, missteps by Microsoft, and not enabling Vista for a low-power, long battery-life device.

    I wonder if you can be modded insightfull for "insights" from the article? No one reads them anyway...

  • Re:I dunno (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sigismond0 (1455695) on Friday January 23, 2009 @03:59PM (#26580689)
    Agreed. I wholly plan on getting an HP Mini 1000 at some point. I'm getting the Linux version because it's cheaper, and then putting Vista/Win7 on it. Fuck paying for the OS.
  • by jhfry (829244) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:07PM (#26580795)

    Microsoft isn't losing because of Linux, it's losing because of Microsoft.

    Essentially, if MS dominated the industry by creating the BEST product, then they wouldn't have a problem. Their problem is simply that their target customer isn't willing to be abused any longer. That and the of years of abuse have pushed millions of victims to contribute to the creation and improvement of alternatives to Microsoft.

  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:09PM (#26580839) Journal

    Windows sales (or at least revenue) shrank by 8% (CNN blames Vista sales in particular [cnn.com]). Since PC/Server sales in the industry overall didn't drop (let alone by that much), and netbooks only count for 5% of the whole market (with Windows + Linux netbooks combined in that figure), it stands to reason that there are other factors besides economic malaise that contributed to the losses.

  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:11PM (#26580879) Journal
    I suspect, both from the statement, and from the fact that this is a Linux Devices interview, that the "own branded software platform[s]" in question are more likely to be replacing WinCE or WinNT/XP Embedded(which does, indeed, seem to be happening a fair amount). To a lesser extent(though still a notable one) netbooks have been doing some of the same.
  • Re:Missing factors (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:13PM (#26580911) Homepage

    Linux doesn't need any marketshare in order to do damage to Microsoft.

    Just the fact that it's out there as a bogeyman is enough.

    The ressurection of XP on netbooks is a good enough demonstration of this effect.

  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:18PM (#26581005)
    ..Or most people being perfectly content with XP
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:18PM (#26581023) Homepage

    THANK YOU....

    Most large corporate layoffs are for greed reasons only. to make the books look a little better for next quarter. It's trendy right now and you wont be questioned if you do.. Look GM is dying! we can too!!!

    There is a crapload of shady things going on right now in the business world. Look at every bit of it with a heavy dose of skepticism and never ever trust a company as far as you can physically throw it.

  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:22PM (#26581081)

    It's even worse than that. Intel is going to shut four plants and lay off 6,000 workers. [computerworld.com]

    I'm no business analyst, but obviously Linux (the netbook market in particular) is severely cutting into the profits of computer giants like Microsoft, Apple, Intel, and IBM. If you needed a sign for the year of Linux, this is it!

  • by east coast (590680) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:23PM (#26581091)
    Sure, companies should keep on dead wood through a decline so that they don't just ride the edge but they go over and EVERYONE loses their jobs.

    I know that it's a popular option around here for the future of MS but try to understand that keeping the same staff to produce less product isn't a very good business model. A company should not be forced into the red before they do what's best. AFAIC Microsoft has an obligation to shareholders to keep things running in a possitive direction.

    Funny how when a company does this it's nothing but greed but as their going out of business so many around here cry out that they didn't do enough to adopt to changing market coniditions. Pretty ironic, eh?
  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:24PM (#26581105)

    It's not just the more enterprise market share that Linux can get. It's also the threat of more market share as a negotiation tactic. Before companies didn't have much choice. Windows or higher priced Unix servers. Now they can negotiate with MS. MS lowers their pricing or they threaten to migrate to Linux.

    Also the Linux threat in the interview is not just in the Enterprise Server market. Embedded devices and netbooks are going with Linux due to its ability to run lean. Vista is not currently lean enough for these applications. XP is lean enough though but not as customizable as Linux.

    Redhat and Novell/SuSe offer their Linux solutions. IBM and HP will support these distros and others. That's 4 major players right there. Also this doesn't just apply to companies. China has their own brand and Russia is exploring one as well.

  • by cinnamon colbert (732724) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:24PM (#26581107) Journal

    i have been looking a lot at netbooks online, at best buy and at staples and microcneter, and it is hard to even find a linux netbook - I seriously doubt this has caused any significant harm to MS
    But, be glad to see some actual sales data
    Anyway, the whole idea that linux is better or cheaper then MS is not true for the avg user,

  • by Daswolfen (1277224) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:29PM (#26581175)

    Please pull your head from Tux's ass long enough to realize that maybe the recession coupled with the craptacular Vista cause the 'Microsoft Decline'

    Linux will NEVER be a viable home user desktop replacement until you can go to Wal-Mart and buy software for it.

  • by The End Of Days (1243248) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:36PM (#26581277)

    I guess the right thing to do is keep the dead-weight workers on, pay them good money for no reason, and keep the hippies happy, right?

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:45PM (#26581437)

    Linux has a Sane Desktop environment: Its called KDE. It conforms to FreeDesktop.org standards.

    Linux has actually TWO Sane mans of Installation. RPM, DEB. (Sorry Gentoo Users, Portage doesn't cut it.)

    Under absolutely no circumstances should ANY Linux application be "installed" by typing ./configure; make; make install. Those steps are for DEVELOPERS and MAINTAINERS only to MAKE packages (RPM, DEB.)

    Couple things. RPM and DEB need a standard and understood hierarchy. DEB wins out here. There is less variability in the configuration of DEB, and a great deal of variability in RPM (SUSE, Mandriva, Fedora.) This creates problems that could be solved if someone created a "Unified RPM standard". As far as the RPM and DEB differences are concerned, its my opinion that dpkg and RPM should be interchangable on both systems without having to "convert" from Alien. For example, if I am a Mandriva user, and Ubuntu has something I want, I should be able to set up dpkg and rpm to understand each other and retrieve the DEB Packages from Ubuntu.

    There do need to be improvements in SDL, SDL is getting stale.

    Another issue is Upstream maintainers. Upstream coders are coding some of these applications with bizzare and stupid configurations that don't work well with EITHER Package manager and all they provide is a tar ball. And then you look at their Windows build, and in some cases its easier to install the Windows Build in Wine. Thats unforgivable.

    However, I think that what we are seeing right now is not the outright resistance to Linux. Its not that Linux sucks, its just that Adobe, and Quicken, and several of these ISVs have strictly Anti-Linux policies. Its kinda the same thing as when you see these heavily DRMed web sites that Are Windows+IE only because they rely on IE DRM, and have a written policy against Linux OR Mac.

    The fact is, they hate Linux, not because it sucks, not because its hard to write applications for, its that THEY HATE LINUX. Its not rational, its not anything there is a reasonable excuse for. They just hate Linux and they want to see Linux die.

  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thtrgremlin (1158085) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:49PM (#26581507) Homepage Journal

    When an OEM negotiates a price agreement with Microsoft, they now have a viable alternative. It changes the negotiating relationship.

    1% isn't that much, but Microsoft MUST make deals with EVERY major OEM to keep their position, and before Microsoft had the leverage to ensure that every OEM MUST have Windows. The game has changed, and even though every OEM is still going to sell Windows, having Linux on the table to wave in their face makes Microsoft sweat a little. Especially with netbooks because an OEM CAN walk away if they don't get whatever price they feel like asking. Apple sells its own products, so what did Microsoft have to compete against? Nothing! While it isn't much, Linux offers not just competitive options for users, but OEMs. The fat Microsoft had before was the monopoly. Remember that market share is only a warning sign of monopolistic practices; remember Cisco Systems and their investigation? Cisco successfully argued that their market share is directly related to innovation and a superior product, nothing else. Microsoft on the other hand HAS been playing dirty. Microsoft is now being forced to play in the real world where a Microsoft computer tax will no longer be status quo.

    I think they mean company branded Linux in the same way HP, Dell, and the old Compaq and others brand Windows and the machine bios. I'll agree this isn't any kind of advantage, but only because this was always reasonably easy to do with Windows.

  • by ciaohound (118419) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:51PM (#26581545)

    Exactly. They are reaping what they've sown with their Windows-for-everything strategy. That worked against Lotus, Borland, Netscape, etc... ten years ago. But where is the Windows iPod? The Windows iPhone? The Windows Android? Innovations are sidestepping Windows.

    Of course, Microsoft has the technical ability to do so as well, but organizationally, that's like asking Detroit to make a small car.

  • Re:Missing factors (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LurkerXXX (667952) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:11PM (#26581839)
    Add in most folks already have a computer. And a lot of others have a 2nd computer. MS can't convince them to buy a 3rd or 4th for their home often enough to keep MS's sales rates what they once were. They just aren't losing that much market share. The market for computers is down for a variety of reasons.
  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:19PM (#26581939) Journal

    I've still never met a single person that uses Linux as their primary OS.

    I have for the past seven years. Sometimes, for months at a time, as my only OS, until I need to boot XP for a game.

    We brag about how its making inroads and how its impacting the marketplace but we rarely see it in person.

    Asus EEE PC. The machine's very existence depended on Linux. Once Linux proved you could create something that cheaply, that small, with good battery life, everyone else rushed to get in on it, including Microsoft. But even if XP had really been an option when it was built, MIcrosoft wouldn't give them the price they wanted.

    So, whether or not it actually makes it onto someone's desktop, the fact that it's there as an option changes the negotiation. If I need an operating system for something -- maybe I'm a Fortune 500 company with thousands of desktops, maybe I'm a Toshiba or a Sony and I'm building a new set top box or otherwise smart device -- I can now negotiate a much lower price for Windows, because Linux is a real option, whether or not I ever intended to use it.

    until Linux gets a unified interface,

    Name an OS which has one.

    a sane way of installing applications

    Package managers are stranger, but they are more secure, and they are, in fact, easier.

    Among other things: Reinstalls are no longer something to be feared. Just back up your home directory, reinstall, then go to add/remove programs, check all programs you need, and click "apply".

    Compare with your "sane" way which involves digging through old, possibly scratched and useless CDs, as well as browsing online through dozens of web pages, looking for installer programs -- which are essentially unverified executables, each one opening you up for a MITM attack.

    and dealing with dependancies

    I'll forgive this, since you clearly haven't dealt with Linux directly in years, if ever.

    Dependencies are not an issue. They are so much not an issue it's not even funny anymore.

    Remember what I said above, about "add/remove programs"? That's it. All the dependencies are taken care of automatically.

    and manages some actual commercial support

    I bought this laptop with Ubuntu, from Dell. That means I actually have support. I can actually call Canonical if I have a problem.

    I can also buy software for Linux -- Canonical has a repository of commercial software. Then there's programs like Maya, etc.

    There's also Linus, and a number of other kernel developers, who have their paychecks written by an organization [osdl.org] which lives purely on donations from these guys [osdl.org] -- in case you're too lazy to follow that link, that's HP, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, Oracle, AMD, Google, Motorola, Nokia, Adobe, Dell, Mitsubishi... I could go on, just follow the link.

    I would call that a significant amount of corporate support -- and that's not counting the developers these organizations often hire to work for them, but on Linux and open source.

    I just don't see it appealing to the average consumer.

    See, that's the more interesting question, and that's where the flamewars happen.

    But often, it's a moot question. The rule of thumb I've found is that most people love Linux, when they give it a chance, and it will do 99% of what they want. But there's another 1% that they can't live without, that's different for everyone, that it won't do.

    Many of these, there's really nothing the community can do to improve things, without destroying what makes Linux great. Consider: You complained about not having a "unified interface". If that meant enforcing human interface guidelines, it would kill some very interesting apps which explore some radically different ideas about human interfaces. If it meant just a

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:23PM (#26582029) Journal

    Multimedia. There are so many back-ends to choose from, each with problems of their own.

    And last I checked, each has an interface to the other -- or, at least, all of them have an interface to ffmpeg (they'd be stupid not to).

    The associated front-ends are even worse both in functionality and bloat.

    VLC is bloated? Really?

    2: Polish. It seams that by default, Linux distros are less polished by default. In fact, I can say they are ugly by default. This does not help.

    Specific suggestions welcome.

    3: Bloat. KDE is wonderful but suffers from bloat.

    Huh. I hadn't noticed. It seems positively lightweight to me.

    GNOME is kind of OK, but it's interface looks ancient and lacks the functionality of modern systems.

    Like what?

    And you know these are skinnable, right?

  • Re:Missing factors (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bit01 (644603) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:50PM (#26582445)

    Not to mention the fact that if companies *did* start selling machines with their own flavors of Linux I'm sure they'd quickly spiral into garbage. Think of the crapware on budget PCs. Now imagine an entire OS bastardized, branded and sold to the highest bidder. I could see custom manufacturer Linux distros quickly becoming a total nightmare.

    No, different situation. Vendors don't control their Linux customer base nearly as much as with MSWindows. A bastardized Linux can be relatively easily replaced with an alternative linux distribution developed by third parties e.g. Like Acer netbooks where some people didn't like the custom Linux install and replaced it with Ubuntu. MSWindows, not so much.

    ---

    Open source software is everything that closed source software is. Plus the source is available.

  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jason Earl (1894) on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:04PM (#26582643) Homepage Journal

    The current crop of netbooks are powerful enough to run Vista. They don't run Vista because Microsoft has special netbook pricing for Windows XP. A reduced-price version of XP is a good move for Microsoft in that it stemmed the tide of Linux adoption, but it has signaled lower margins for Microsoft.

    If the netbook version of Windows 7 doesn't come with a reduced price then Linux is likely to make up some ground on these devices. If the netbook version of Windows 7 does come with a reduced price, then Microsoft will still continue to see lower revenue. Either way competition from Linux hurts Microsoft. As the extreme low end of the spectrum becomes more and more powerful (and useful) Microsoft is going to be under increased pressure to sell Windows for less.

    Of course, Windows 7 could make up some ground on the high end. I suppose it is possible that Windows 7 will be so cool that the release of Windows 7 will reverse the trend on the high end towards Apple's products, but I don't see that happening.

  • Re:Missing factors (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jason Earl (1894) on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:28PM (#26582913) Homepage Journal

    Linux's mere existence has always had a competitive influence on Microsoft. However, it wasn't until recently that Linux was truly a competitive threat as a desktop for end users. Heck, I've been using Linux on my desktop since 1995, but I haven't really believed it was a viable replacement for Windows for normal folk until fairly recently (and then only in fairly specific situations).

    It's hard to argue that Linux doesn't represent a threat now, however. After all, Microsoft resurrected Windows XP and sold it at a steep discount as a specific reaction to Linux adoption on the low end. If Linux didn't Asus and the other netbook vendors wouldn't really have had any choice but to either spec out their netbooks to fit Vista, and sell them at a price point where Vista makes sense.

    On a much broader scale Linux and Free Software have been limiting how much Microsoft can charge for software since its inception. This is most visible on the server end, where Linux has a great deal of traction, but it is also visible in areas like development tools, embedded software, etc. As Free Software becomes more visible as competitors to Windows and MS Office Microsoft is going to find it increasingly difficult to defend it's ridiculously high profit margins on these items. At which point Microsoft is likely to become just another software development company instead of the 800 pound gorilla that we all know and love.

  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily&gmail,com> on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:41PM (#26583069)

    I think Jurily's point was that an economic downturn wouldn't necessarily make people switch to Linux, but rather would increase the volume of Windows piracy instead.

    I really need to articulate my thoughts more clearly.

    My point: Microsoft does not sell tangible stuff, like cars. They already paid most of the money they needed to make their product. The cost of making more of said product is negligible. They have a huge profit per new units sold. Maybe, if they lowered their prices, they could sell more.

    Sorry for the flamefest, I'll be more precise next time :)

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:43PM (#26583107) Homepage Journal

    1. Every word was true. If not, where is the nonsense? I call shenanigans. Saying "nonsense" is the alternative to admitting that you don't have a valid argument.

    2. If eye candy sells, why is XP more popular than Vista? Why is the most eye-candy Linux not the most popular Linux? Eye candy, in fact, is not the only thing that sells. People want their computer to work when they want it to work.

    3. An overcomplicated GUI doesn't mean the software is bloated. Windows is overall far more bloated. But less of the options are available to the user. You have to go tunneling through the registry creating arcane DWORDs (OSX is no better, putting you off in plist land) instead of just being able to run a config program. The excessive complexity of the KDE gui is perfectly desirable to some, which is why we also have GNOME. Both are skinnable, and both can be made to draw their windows with the other's widgets, so all the apps look the same (just heading off the inevitable incompatibility argument.)

    What's wrong with Linux is mostly marketing, although there are some areas of spectactular failure, like bluetooth.

  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cromac (610264) on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:54PM (#26583223)
    I'll tell you one thing though. Whatever it is, he's certainly made of different stuff to every other politician in power at the present time.

    Doesn't look like it. He's already backpedaling about campaign promises (lies) and talking like Bush. Obama is no different from any other lying, sleazy politician.

  • by CarpetShark (865376) on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:20PM (#26583537)

    Agreed. And that's aside from the fact that no one should be celebrating job losses anyway. Granted, it would be nice if devs would quit microsoft in favour of paid work for a free desktop project, but job losses are never good, and it's just cheap to gloat over them. Those people have lives to live, dreams to fulfill, kids to feed, etc. Yes, microsoft as a company sucks. But really... grow the fuck up, and don't misrepresent free software's ideals please. We're about making lives better, not celebrating loss.

  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:30PM (#26583653) Journal

    And I think that can be directly traced to them losing their way and ignoring their core markets. One of MSFT's biggest customers have always been business. From the littlest SOHO to the largest enterprise MSFT has been right there making boring as hell backwards compatible low resource business OSes. But then with Vista they suddenly take a giant turn into left field and completely blow off their core market to get into a multimedia pissing contest with Apple.

    I mean it is no wonder you have so many sites like this [msdn.com] and this [sapphiresteel.com] showing step by step how to turn Win2k8 server into a desktop. It is because MSFT has abandoned their business users to try to compete with Apple in the multimedia space. Which frankly is insane as Apple has this little thing called the iPod that pretty much gives them the lock on the multimedia space, not to mention the hip factor, and the amount of money they make off of business licenses and support contracts is worth FAR more than the niche they are trying to muscle their way into.

    Mark my words, and the MSFT shills can mod me down all you want, but the biggest threat to MSFT is MSFT. They are neglecting their core markets, they are flailing around from one idea to another like the company has ADHD, and by trying to stuff everyone on the planet into this giant bling bling multimedia OS they are screwing over one of their biggest customers, the business users. I mean, is there anyone here with a straight face that can say Vista was made for business? The thing practically screams HTPC! It is like they fired all their business and accounting guys and put some marketing drone in charge of the whole company. And worse, the drone wants to be as cool as Apple so bad it hurts.

    Mark my words, if they do not get some common sense and make another business OS then companies like Red Hat will be more than happy to take a shot at those customers. If they want a single codebase, fine and dandy. Make a "Win2k10 Pro" out of Win2K8 server and leave Win7 for the home users. But I truly believe that Win7 will bomb, just as hard if not harder than Vista. And when it does all those corporations that have been ignored for two OS releases will start to look for alternatives.

  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:2, Insightful)

    by domatic (1128127) on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:53PM (#26583887)

    Note well that Linux had to prove itself a competent and plausible competitor. It generally isn't wise to make threats unless one can follow through on them and at times the mere threat of a Linux migration isn't enough to get MS to throw discounts at you. You'll actually have to start that migration and make a sincere effort at it. If MS was certain that a migration would end in tears and the customer would come crawling back on their knees then they wouldn't make concessions now would they?

    The thing to do now is for Linux vendors and devs to keep on keeping on and make that threatened migration as easy and viable as possible.

  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Friday January 23, 2009 @08:44PM (#26584337) Journal

    This is what I've been saying for a while now... The Year of Linux on the Desktop is often touted (and even more often mocked), but it is becoming the wrong concept.
    Sure, desktops will not go away so soon. But we are most definitely moving towards more mobile devices. The shift from the desktop to the laptop is quite significant, though the platform is much the same. I'm thinking about the transition from the phone to the mobile phone: netbooks will gain popularity, and who knows which other devices will evolve.
    Linux need not conquer the desktop. It doesn't really stand a chance because it is neither a gaming platform nor an established office platform. But if Linux gains a foothold in the netbook market, I don't think the desktop will matter so much.

    However, we may see more Linux on the desktop as a side effect of spreading to many different fronts.

  • by Daswolfen (1277224) on Friday January 23, 2009 @08:46PM (#26584359)

    by full support, I mean hardware and software, all plug and play... not tweaks to get things to work.. not drivers released as an afterthought. Is it better? Yes.. it is, but it never will be a viable alternative unless it has that kind of out of the box support and availability.

    And no.. you can not run garage band in windows, but you can run it in MacOS. And jus because they make flash for Linux doesn't mean Adobe has any real intentions of full support because there is NO MONEY in Linux. With out money behind anything, it eventually withers and dies. Capitalism rules...

  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) on Friday January 23, 2009 @10:00PM (#26584807)

    Doesn't sound like it if he's supporting warrantless wiretapping just like Bush did. Same old crap. You bought into the hype of a politician who broke his own campaign financing promise to forego public financing in order to raise as much as he wanted without any government oversight. Screw the campaign finance laws we passed after Nixon! Very, very bad precedent that will bite us in the ass in the future since all politicians will forego public funding having seen what Obama was able to accomplish with the backing of his millionaire Hollywood friends.

  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) on Friday January 23, 2009 @10:01PM (#26584815)

    M$ was Mr. Sparkles 3rd largest campaign contributer.

    When in Rome... In most democratic countries, donations by companies to (potential) political leaders would be seen as corruption.

  • Re:You forgot one (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LaskoVortex (1153471) on Friday January 23, 2009 @10:12PM (#26584891)
    The bill is about decentralization of the Federal Government. You probably hope that it means that the federal government will stop abortions and make us all pray in school. Sorry. That's not what it is about. It is about returning power to the states and allowing states to have their own moral agenda. Since the USA is a federation of states, the idea is that people are still free to move from states with whom they disagree about moral conduct and into states where they agree. Some people actually still believe in states' rights, Ron Paul is one of them. I wish people would educate themselves on the notion of what it means to be a federation of states.
  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Friday January 23, 2009 @11:53PM (#26585493)

    Aren't you jumping from desktop stats to compact devices? hehe.

    Yeah, but I'm not doing it in one sentence. :P

    I don't think we'll be abandoning desktops anytime terribly soon, either... for one thing, people like big screens, not tiny screens.

    The only thing I could see is either working with data in different ways using something unlike the desktop environment we're used to or docking. I'd love a device that I slip in to a screen / casing so it acts like a PDA / smartphone. Then when I get to the office, I dock it to my screen and keyboard (like I do with my laptop) and it becomes my full-sized-feeling workstation.

    Yes, Linux definitely has had an impact in the server world - but then, UNIX was around, IIRC, before a server edition of Windows ever existed, right? So it's Windows that has to "break" into that market, not the other way around.

    This is what's interesting with this sector. Unix systems ruled the earth (well, OK... lets just say they did). Windows shows up making use of much cheaper commodity hardware and begins winning marketshare. Linux comes along and also runs on that same commodity hardware. What you have is Unix's territory being chipped away by both Windows and Linux. However, anything Linux gains is a net loss for Windows which would normally pick up the "cheap hardware" win.

    Anyways, my general point was I don't think Microsoft is laying off people because of Linux. I think it's primarily the economy, and probably Vista.

    While I agree that these are likely the largest factor, I've seen this change in the industry over the years. I find it difficult to discount Linux's impact entirely.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2009 @01:31AM (#26585953)

    As soon as I loaded Vista on my Core Duo, 2ghz notebook with discrete graphics, and as soon as it broke down and cried on my lap, I knew there was no way in hell Vista would ever be acceptable on a netbook.

    Had Microsoft had the competence to control their bloat, they wouldn't have gotten caught in this snafu. In software, there are almost no examples where controlling bloat leads to anything but good things.

  • Re:You forgot one (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dryeo (100693) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @02:07AM (#26586097)

    Wouldn't a federation of states also include the right of a state to leave the federation?

  • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2009 @02:36AM (#26586243)

    Your statements regarding investments are a bit misleading. First, MSFT stock has paid a good chunk of dividends over that 10 year period. Apple has never paid a dividend.
    You're comparing growth between two companies at very different stages of maturity, which is not really fair. Do we say a junior oil & gas exploration company is better than EXMOB because their revenue grew 500%? Sure, if you look at the last few months/years of equity growth, but that doesn't mean it was the better investment.

  • Re:You forgot one (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @12:52PM (#26590207)

    The thing is, originally it was the states that were seen as the countries, not the union. Each was it's own little country loosely associated. Somewhere along the line the union stopped being an association of countries and grew to be seen as THE country. At that time some of the states wanted out.

    It'd be akin to the United States suddenly declaring that we no longer wish to part of the United Nations. Right now we all see that as clear cut: the UN is a loose organization and if our country wants to leave we should be able to: we're a sovereign government. The states of the mid 1800's felt largely the same way.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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