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Microsoft Operating Systems Software

MS Dissatisfaction High, Users Consider Switching 815

Posted by timothy
from the fish-in-a-barrel dept.
chriscooper1470 writes "Almost two-thirds of respondents to a recent InternetWeek Reader Question said they are dissatisfied with Microsoft software, and 41 percent of respondents are at least thinking about switching away from Microsoft software. Only 28 percent of users responding to the poll described themselves as satisfied Microsoft customers. There are some great comments at the bottom of the article discussing why people voted the way they did. My favorite quote: 'At the end of the day, I still wish we had a viable alternative. There isn't one -- yet. We'll keep looking.' - Sure."
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MS Dissatisfaction High, Users Consider Switching

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  • If I was microsoft, I'd be paying real close attention and trying to fix the things that my customers were saying were wrong. When you have almost half of your customer base thinking about switching away from your product, that tells you that something's wrong.
    • They won't though, people are too lazy, or are scared of change. Microsoft dominates the desktop marketshare. With that being said since they are a monopoly, there is no point to innovate because you have nobody to compete with. While people should be totally pissed that they keep getting hit with virus after virus, and should be boycotting, it doesn't make a difference to Microsoft. There has been only one sucessful boycott in the U.S. as a country, the tuna boycott.
      • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @03:00PM (#7195599) Journal
        Yup people hate change. That is why we are still working on dumb terminals attached to mainframes. Change can happen. It is sorta like pushing a train. If it is standing still then it will be hell to get moving. But once it does stopping it will be even harder and a lot more likely to get get you squashed.

        Don't forget that not so long ago is you suggested using MS software in an office you would have been kicked out by both IT AND management.

        Then again this kind of poll is useless. Sure they are dissatisified. You always says you want a better/cheaper product. If you say you are 100% satisfied they will up the price.

        • It is sorta like pushing a train. If it is standing still then it will be hell to get moving. But once it does stopping it will be even harder

          Um, no, it won't. It will even eventually stop on its own. Bad analogy.

          Don't forget that not so long ago is you suggested using MS software in an office you would have been kicked out by both IT AND management.

          "Not so long ago?" You mean when their only product was basic for the Altair? I doubt there was much time where the general idea of using software in an

    • > If I was microsoft, I'd be paying real close attention and trying to fix the things that my customers were saying were wrong.

      Bingo, thats marketing 101. Any company can survive as long as they look at a market segment that has a desire/need that can be addressed and sold. Thats why MS can get away with making XBoxes (not economically, but marketing wise, keep that in mind), there evidently was a desire for the console, so they made one and it sells.

      Now if some large company that markets linu
    • No, I think something is wrong when 1/2 of their customers would consider a change but don't have viable alternatives* because of their monopolistic activities. * Full Disclosure: I just switched back to a mac and I am still not done buying replacement software. The price of the software is coming up to the price of the 15 TiBook. Remember, software publishers do not consider cross platform switches as upgrades so i am starting from scratch. I am also considering caving and buying MS Office... I have no ch
    • by God! Awful 2 (631283) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @03:53PM (#7195914) Journal
      Keyword: unscientific poll.

      Whenever you post a survey like this, you mainly get responses from people with strong opinions. What we really need to see is the responses from the other 80% of the people who don't care enough to respond to a survey like this.

      -a
    • Nah, they will just add something to their EULA that says that you have to be satisfied and chan't change if you use their programs.
  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:44PM (#7195473) Homepage Journal
    The fact is there are really no alternatives for most people. Macs are expensive, and it's hard to find a good x86 box with Linux preloaded. Until reliable, powerful PC's with alternate OSes and applications suites are easily obtainable, the unwashed masses will continue to buy MS. Sad, but true.
    • Part of it is also that we all pay the MS tax when we buy a computer from Circuit City, Best Buy, Comp USA...etc. If users could get MS-free machines (subtract Windows XP from the price) at retail stores besides Walmart, I think people would go for em. I know I'd try to get customers to switch at my store.
    • "Macs are expensive"

      Depends on what you are looking for... G5 towers aren't particularly expensive compared to quality, high-spec desktop PCs... iBooks and PowerBooks aren't particularly expensive compared to 'good' x86 laptops...

      Certainly, depending on what you are compared to compromise on, you can get cheaper x86 boxes. And, unfortunately, there are no mid-spec, limited upgradable headless Mac desktops (ie. think iMac-esque, without monitor).

      As a PC owner, I built my own and was forever tinkering... s
      • But if all you want is a cheap and easy box for a non-technical person to run Word and Excel and Internet Explorer on, you can get a workable Dell (Dimension 2400, Celeron 2.2GHz, 40GB HD, 128MB RAM) for $500 to $600, while the cheapest Mac is the eMac (800MHz G4, 40GB HD, 128MB RAM) at $800. Multiply that by even just a couple dozen people, and the price differential really adds up.

        The problem is that high-end Macs are competitive to high-end PC's, and mid-range Macs are (somewhat) competitive to mid-ran
    • by Anonymous Coward
      If you took the time to do an actual cost comparison between Mac's and Window's machines, plus time, hassle, and value added...not to mention warranties, you would find that Macs actually come in pretty close to equal to Windows machines. Just go to Dell and build you a computer and then visit Apple and build a similar computer and find out.
    • I've always been fond of the saying that "Macs are expensive" only for people who don't value their time...
      • by unother (712929)
        Hear hear! I've been suffering with an Athlon 1GHz with XP Pro for the last three months. Finally got tired of the crap, and managed to get my G4/533 MHz back online. There are a lot of "little things" one must do with a PC that don't matter with Macs, like looking for Spyware and crap constantly; not to mention the performance issues of XP, even on reasonable hardware. Aside from the Finder issues (which I'm hoping the new one in Panther will clear up), having the Mac back was a breath of fresh air. D
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I have found that some of the most rabid linux zealots don't even use Linux most of the time. I for one am a huge linux advocate, but at the moment, I still use Apple and Windows 95% of the time (not counting Solaris since I work for Sun, but that's on work time).

      Windows is the only OS that you can run most 'finished' software on. It's the only OS that you can play every game on without sacrificing game performance. It even plays more video formats and more easily than *Apple* (try playing an MP3 audio enc
      • Bah.

        Debian GNU/Linux is much better than Windows even as a desktop.

        KDE 3 is so much better tuned and more refined than the latest Windows its not even funny.

        Don't believe me? Download KDE 3.2 and its vast collections of software and see for yourself.

        Its faster, more powerful, simpler, prettier, better programmed, more consistent and more efficient than Windows.
        • Yes, but this is not Joe user's computer.

          I am writing it on another debian system with 3 more in the house and 30+ more in the office. Yes, "it just works (TM)".

          But it is not joe user's desktop and it does not come preloaded on any brand names. They formally do not support it.
    • by BWJones (18351) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @03:08PM (#7195660) Homepage Journal
      The fact is there are really no alternatives for most people.

      B.S. Sorry to be so abrupt and crude, but this is simply not correct. There are many alternatives out there including OS X, various flavors of Linux, etc...etc...etc...

      Macs are expensive,

      Again, this is a popular misconception. If you are talking the local grey box manufacturer, yeah, you can probably get a $499 PC, but it will not have many of the features that the brand name boxes will have or the software. Generally you get what you pay for and with Apple products, you get a quality product with features that really do make a difference. Also at the high end, Macs often are cheaper to purchase. For instance, the OS X workstation I am typing this on right now was a full $900 cheaper than an equivalently configured Dell box and OS X provides a much more productive environment. In fact, for our lab which historically has been Wintel based, every new computer purchase in the last year and a half has been a Mac. The other thing you should know is that Macs have a lower total cost of ownership, require less maintenance, are more reliable, and make folks more productive.

      and it's hard to find a good x86 box with Linux preloaded

      This unfortunately in some cases has become true with Dell backing off their Linux push at Microsoft's urging. However, there are other companies out there bundling Linux in.

      Until reliable, powerful PC's with alternate OSes and applications suites are easily obtainable,

      Go here [apple.com].

      • Macs are expensive to try. I wouldn't waste 1000$ just to see if I like the OS or not. That's the problem with 'em. Most people aren't going to take the risk that they're not going to like mac and lose 1000$.
    • The fact is there are really no alternatives for most people.

      This is false. Sit a novice user in front of KDE3 and Open Office on a machine that has been sensibly set up and they will find a familiar interface and will face few cross-training problems. The paradox is that users who are more 'highly trained' tend to find non-MS systems problematic - novices just go ahead and use the system.
    • Your average user wants to buy some hardware, take it home and then install it. Ok this isn't always simple with Windows, but more often than not there will be a driver somewhere for your Windows OS of choice.

      With Linux you run into the problem of kernel versions and drivers needing to be (in many cases) released as source code. Some companies simply don't want to release such code if they feel it reveals any secrets or patented hardware knowledge. Of course you can use a part binary, part source approach,
      • Given the number of government agencies adopting Linux I feel that many companies will have to take notice and provide drivers.
        Or, just leave it to the community to do what they do best: provide drivers that are more efficient and more stable than anything some random company would halfheartedly put out in an attempt to win over a few thousand more sales.
    • Until reliable, powerful PC's with alternate OSes and applications suites are easily obtainable, the unwashed masses will continue to buy MS. Sad, but true.

      No, the washed masses will buy windows. The unwashed masses sit on slashdot all day.
    • And this lack of alternatives isnt exactly a coinsidense either. Many are the fine uppstarters who have come and gone. Be is one of the most promising ones lately on the desktop. The efficiancy that Be had makes XP look like a fat slow ugly pile of junk and loops.

      All those companies that developed something the market wanted didnt go away by themselves, they wore hampered by the monopoly and the lockin in place by said monopoly.

      Take away the monopoly and the OS business will once again thrive like it did
  • by bloggins02 (468782) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:44PM (#7195479)
    So, in both Gnome and KDE 3.1 I can click on an icon and.... nothing. The cursor doesn't change to an hourglass or anything, so I click again thinking I just didn't doubleclick fast enough. Of course, this opens two instances of the program.

    See, it's just little things like this, but boy are there a LOT of these little things. Fix them, and maybe we'll see people treat Linux and OSS as a serious alternative.

    • Um, what KDE are you using? 3.1 ships by default with startup notification enabled. 3.2 has a cool little bouncing cursor as well.
    • Regretfully, it's not just the "little things" that pose a problem right now. It's usually the "bigger things", like major software releases not coming with a Linux version!

      Nowdays, the average person is buying a computer as a means to run whatever software they see and want to be able to use. (I think this is important to realize - because years ago, it didn't really work this way. For a long time, people bought computers only because they had a vague concept that "Once I have a computer, I can do all
    • hehe, this is actually funny since this is done on purpose. In KDE at least you can switch the behaviour off and on. By default it is off. You see some people hate that cursor thing. Say an app takes 5 seconds to load. Then I got a faulty cursor for 5 seconds? Screw that.

      Sure maybe it would be easier for windows people if the KDE people enabled this by default. You can set it so a busy cursor, busy in the taskbar, both or nothing.

      So that is linux's advantage, you got the choice and disadvantage, you got t

    • The biggest problem I see with converting people is the things that used to "just work" and they don't anymore ...

      The two clearest examples are sound and clipboard. We have alsa, oss, arts, esd as various ways of getting sound ... The problem is not choice, but stability and incompatibility. If you use arts, than you can play arts apps, but nothing else ... (it blocks the dev even when no app is running). If you just rely on oss/alsa then all kde apps no longer have sound ... Not to mention the serious sy

  • Well then... they should upgrade to Windows2003 (Longhorn)!

    Of course, I am kidding but in some ways it's true.
    Microsoft always promises the next release will work but it never quite does. The brilliant upgrade treadmill of mediocrity.
  • Monopoly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Uruk (4907) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:46PM (#7195494)
    ...And this type of dissatisfaction my friends is why monopolies suck. The lack of options is a problem, but it's the secondary problem. Options are needed when the products are no good. The so-called invisible hand of the economy is supposed to ruthlessly punish companies who produce crappy products that don't give customers what they need. In monopolies, the invisible hands are handcuffed. This in turn really robs the company in question of any motivation to do it right.

    I mean, what's the difference? People are going to buy their stuff whether it's good or not. This reminds me of the South Park episode where Mr. Garrison comes up with an alternative to the airplane industry. The only problem is that it has serious, terrible drawbacks. (To say the least) Still, people go after it because even if it's terrible, it provides an incremental advantage to how terrible the airlines were.

    Part of the lack of choice isn't Microsoft's fault. Computers are new, and society at large is sorely lacking in the skills necessary to use them effectively. Computer education at all levels (not programming, just training on effective use) is vital if you ever want people to take an alternative to Microsoft, even if it is ever presented.

    • That was true to life in more ways than one. Remember when the goverment "bailed out" the airlines by taking Mr. Garrison's business and threatening him with jail?
  • Only 28 percent of users responding to the poll described themselves as satisfied Microsoft customers.

    In other news, 72% of the group thought the other 28% were 'too easily satisfied'.
  • It is not scientific, so why bother to post it?

    Regardless of that little issue above, a majority still plans to hold on to their Microsoft software.

    Meaning, most of them don't see ANY viable alternative. If people using the web don't see an alternative how would anyone thing Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public see the situation?

  • How many people where asked, what was the demographic, and what messues where taken to ensure that the results are not scewed? Look at it this way, what would you think of a poll taken at a MS dev confrance that had results like 80% of users think MS is doing a great job?
    • That would produce a few giggles I am sure. MS doing a poll on home turf and still get only 80% approval rating? That would easily do 500 posts here.

      But yeah this poll as pretty much all polls is useless. But then do you have a better way of doing this kind of stuff?

  • Loaded (Score:5, Interesting)

    by meta-monkey (321000) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:48PM (#7195507) Journal
    Look, I'm a Mac and Linux user myself, but come on. did you read the question they asked?

    "Microsoft users are getting fed up. They're battered by worms, viruses, security patches and increasing enterprise licensing costs. Aggravation has users talking about switching from Microsoft software to something else. We're trying to figure out how much of that talk is just talk, and how much is serious action. Do you seriously plan to dump Microsoft software?"

    You might as well ask, "Wal-Mart customers are fed up, since Wal-Mart employees kick puppies and laugh at old people. Are you planning to stop shopping at Wal-Mart?"

    Also, it's an Internet poll...not scientific by any stretch. Seriously, I think a lot of people are fed up with MS, but linking to this story is just ridiculous.
    • Re:Loaded (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Metaldsa (162825)
      I thought the same way. An internet poll asking people if they are dissatisfied with the performance of their PC? What a shock :)

      I think we all know that if we got everyone to switch over to linux it would be the same thing. Millions of idiots downloading spyware and trojans from kazaa and then complaining everything is going so slow or their computer doesn't boot. I recently went to a friend's house to get her PC back up and running and it was filled with viruses and spyware (from kazaa and email). Let's
    • Re:Loaded (Score:3, Insightful)

      by antis0c (133550)
      Its actually funny.

      My girlfriend and I have been trying to stop going to Walmart for the last year. Every time we go its dirty, crowded, the employees don't give a damn about the customers and the isles (Which I'd like to see if it violates fire code) are full of pallets of stuff making it a maze to walk through.

      Every time I go I leave with a forehead popping vein. And every time we say we're not going back.

      But alas, Walmart is the only store in my area that has decent prices and is open past 10pm. So i
  • The *best* quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sinus0idal (546109) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:48PM (#7195510)
    "I read that Linux has issued 25 patches so far this year, so what is to be gained by switching?"

    Yes 'Linux'. No distro, no particular installed apps/services, no particular kernel, just 'linux'. Linux, the company, you know..

    Well done Chris Schlehein... I think you really deserve your title of "Enterprise Network Administrator". Your obviously SO clued up in the world of computing.

    • Re:The *best* quote (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Kibo (256105)
      In a way it's actually a pretty insightful observation, even if the person making it isn't terribly insightful.

      People aren't pissed of at microsoft. They're pissed off at the unintuitive complexity of software solutions. While, in most instances, there are probably a lot of good reasons for the complexity, there still is something to be said for asking the question. The failures in addressing that particular issue or even in explaining failings to the layman, are a pretty serious knock on computer scien
    • Only 25 patches? I am fairly sure I installed that many and that is on pure servers.

      Openssh had what a gazillion alone? (kidding it was 2 but after you just done a dozen different servers on a dozen different distro's then have to do it again you feel a bit cranky)

  • a friend protested. "No, how can you wish death to someone just for doing bad work, it's not right!" and more such. I described in detail my several-hour adventure with MS User Support, I described several other cases when hanging would be a mild punishment. He wasn't convinced.

    A week later I got a private page from him. "You were right. Gates should be hung." He bought a new PC and tried to instal WinXP on it (FYI, XP doesn't stand for "eXPerience". It's just an emoticon.) and after several hours of unsuc
  • by slipgun (316092) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:49PM (#7195516)
    My favorite quote: 'At the end of the day, I still wish we had a viable alternative. There isn't one -- yet. We'll keep looking.' - Sure

    If people don't consider Linux a viable alternative, the problem lies with Linux, not with said people. Attitudes such as this will do nothing to help Linux.
    • by AntiOrganic (650691) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @03:14PM (#7195693) Homepage
      I think it is a people problem, and people are finally starting to wise up and recognize that there are alternatives. Linux is popular enough now where a friend of mine, who, while computer literate, is not a technophile by any stretch, saw my Gnome desktop for the first time since my computer had been switched to Windows. His reaction? "Oh, is that Linux?" I didn't think Joe User had heard of Linux. I was mistaken.

      He was quite impressed with Gentoo's speed and the ease of use of my system (Gnome, Gaim, Totem, AbiWord, Evolution, etc.). He uses his computer for gaming mostly, so I don't see him switching from Windows anytime soon, but he seemed fairly impressed at my framerates in Enemy Territory, and even more so at the fact that I hadn't paid a dime for a damned piece of software running on my computer.

      Lots of people who do know of Linux don't realize how far Linux has come. Back in the summer of 2002, when Gnome 1.4 and KDE 2 were the norm as far as desktop environments went, I thought to myself, "Linux is pretty cool, but I don't think it will be ready for the desktop for another three or four years." Now, using Gnome 2.4 and GTK2 apps, I am astonished at how much the open-source community has been able to accomplish.

      I think Linux is ready for the desktop right now. I think if computers were sold with Linux, for hundreds cheaper than comparable Windows PCs, people would start using it. And if not, maybe it would put some pressure on Microsoft to drop prices and stop making shitty products.
      • by Tim C (15259)
        if computers were sold with Linux, for hundreds cheaper than comparable Windows PCs

        That's not going to happen, though - the only way to make a *comparable* Linux-based PC hundreds (of dollars, I assume) cheaper than a Windows-based one would be to take a loss on it. I bought an OEM copy of XP Pro for 116 sterling (about $200) in January. There's no way that a commercial PC manufacturer would be spending anything like that much money per licence.

        To make a Linux-based PC that much cheaper than a Windows on
    • by jhoffoss (73895)
      Spot on...as soon as buying, using, and maintaining a Linux PC is as easy as a mac, Linux will be a viable alternative.

      It's arguable that the same would be true if Linux were as easy as Windows, but parts of the Linux desktop are getting there. But at that point, that still makes Linux an alternative, but maybe not the best one for some people.

      One of the bigger problems I can see with Linux for the masses is the fact that there isn't enough abstraction for the user. No one I have talked to about this sub

  • This is a great time to push other products.

    There are viable alternatives to MS OFFICE. Open Office, Star Office are but 2 of the examples. If you have customers that aren't locked and chained to an exchange server these are wonderfull things.

    Most people do not particularly care for outlook on the email front, the rest arent even aware of most features in the current office.

    Push out office and windows doesn't matter.
  • Three Words (Score:2, Funny)

    by elmegil (12001)
    Java Desktop System.

    (heh, that should lose me some karma)

  • You Know.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pave Low (566880)
    If this same useless unscientific poll were conducted on Linux users and found dissatifcation high, the slashdot text would be blasting it immediately.

    Instead, because it is Microsoft, the editor (namely that tool timothy) takes it as self-evident and obviously true since it confirms his own biases.

    Exhibit #15432 why Slashdot can't be taken as more than a joke.

  • What people want (and MS seems to be slowly taking away from them) is a simple easy to use OS with a fast responsive GUI, that you can easily install applications on.

    Linux doesn't fit the bill. While it is simple to use at a basic user level, the various applications are not at all integrated. Applications are fiddly to get to work properly. X is slow unless you work at it.
    • X is slow unless you work at it. ... and then it's slow and the screen resolution looks strange. :)
    • I can't think of an easier way to install applications than apt-get or emerge. Can you?

      Windows applications aren't integrated very well either, unless you're referring to how Outlook starts up Windows Messenger every time I open it, pissing me off to no end.

      X can drag an 800x600 window around a 1280x1024 desktop without flinching, where it maxes the CPU on Windows. Even though the GDI functions are integrated into the kernel on Windows, it still loses out here.

      I don't see the validity of any of your poin
      • Are you on crack?

        I can't think of an easier way to install applications than apt-get or emerge

        "apt-get"? "emerge"? What in the hell are these? I put a CD in the drive, and it installs. Or, I download something from the Net, and click "open".

        Windows applications aren't integrated very well either, unless you're referring to how Outlook starts up Windows Messenger every time I open it, pissing me off to no end.

        Integrated how? I can copy/paste anywhere, and set various programs to handle various
  • The fact remains is that there remains no viable alternative.

    And I'm not just talking about games. I'm talking about more than word processing software, which seems to be the lone torch which supposed to bring users over. Well, that and Mozilla.

    A good but slightly bloaty browser and StarOffice do not an operating system make.

    But you can't fault Linux for not having third party support. It's a chicken and egg concept that every lone coder knows about.

    Everyone knows that between a user base of hundreds of
  • bias (Score:4, Insightful)

    by snarkh (118018) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @03:03PM (#7195619)
    We asked the question: "Microsoft users are getting fed up. They're battered by worms, viruses, security patches and increasing enterprise licensing costs. Aggravation has users talking about switching from Microsoft software to something else. We're trying to figure out how much of that talk is just talk, and how much is serious action. Do you seriously plan to dump Microsoft software?"

    That's one loaded question. Why would anyne who disagrees with the premise even bother to answer this?


  • UGH! This missing piece in this puzzle is that the hugest number of servers in the US is owned by the smallest of companies -- those who can't afford to maintain their own developer staff. The choice to use Windows is not made in a vacuum. If the industry-specific, third-party (can't afford my own programmers) accounting and customer service software I need to run my business required Linux instead of Windows, guess which OS my business would choose? There IS a reason Microsoft pays to hold all of these de
  • I would switch right now, if only the shut down command would work on my Windows machine! I guess I'll just have to keep on using it... MS are so devilishly clever. :)
  • This is not a statically valid survey.

    We asked the question: "Microsoft users are getting fed up. They're battered by worms, viruses, security patches and increasing enterprise licensing costs. Aggravation has users talking about switching from Microsoft software to something else. We're trying to figure out how much of that talk is just talk, and how much is serious action. Do you seriously plan to dump Microsoft software?"

    A question like this is very leading, and is likely to induce a testing effect,
  • From the article: We asked the question: "Microsoft users are getting fed up. They're battered by worms, viruses, security patches and increasing enterprise licensing costs. Aggravation has users talking about switching from Microsoft software to something else. We're trying to figure out how much of that talk is just talk, and how much is serious action. Do you seriously plan to dump Microsoft software?"

    As much as I hate MS, I do think that this sort of poll question is unfair. It leads the answerer to
  • Perhaps it's just my isolated little world that is so different from the rest of humanity, but even my parents have at least three PCs in the house on top of a few Macs and an assortment of old who-knows-what. As for people closer to my age, I can't think of one that doesn't use both Windows and Linux and several with BSD and Solaris and whatever other assorted mass of software in their enormous archive.
    This whole switch business seems rather strange given the fact that I don't know a single household
  • ...been any popular monopoly ever? Even if they provided you with top-notch service, excellent products at near-cost prices, I swear people would go "Gee, I wish there was something better than [insert monopoly X here]"

    Why? People like to have the choice, or at least the illusion of choice. Like going for Pepsi over Coca-cola or vice versa even though most couldn't tell them apart in a blind test. They'd protest if the had to buy the one and only monopoly brand though.

    I'm sure that if Linux takes over and
  • These comments are being made by network jockey's they hardly represent corporate strategists; that applies for both pro- and anti- MS comments.

    What's really shocking to me is that despite MS's huge cash cow, nobody is willing to seriously challenge them in the office suite world or OS world.

    Instead everybody has Linux out there like a proxy that they can disavow if things don't look good, or embrace if things look better.

    Will it take someone from the Far East to mount a serious challenge to MS?
  • by flacco (324089) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @05:32PM (#7196426)
    you won't have linux applications until you have linux customers, and you won't have customers until you have users, and you won't have users until you have applications.

    the users can break this cycle by getting out of the "either-or" mindset and using BOTH for awhile. they should just get a linux box, today, and start using it. keep the windows one around for stuff for which there is no alternative. or use lindows to even further minimize the amount of machine-switching you must do. by being present in the linux end-user marketplace, they will create the demand for applications.

    IT departments should take the lead on this, but same goes for home users.

    you can get a linux box for $199 at walmart, for christ's sake.
  • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @05:49PM (#7196523)
    We are extremely pleased with all the Microsoft products we use. Patches? Who cares? We are a 103 person company. Three people do the work, and a hundred MCSE IT professionals manage the network, which is 100% Windows. If we switch to Linux, we might have to fire 99 of our IT professionals! No... We don't want to do that! We're all Union IT workers. Like in the trains, when they continued to employ the caboose guys for 30 years after there were no more cabooses. Or the fire guys (who chucked coal into the boiler) for 30 years after they had switched to diesel. No... We're not going to fire our IT workers.

    Seriously, now... People say that you have to patch Linux just as you have to patch Windows. But they don't realize something that is quite different between the two:

    Under Linux, you have total control over the system. There is nothing hidden away, like it is under Microsoft. Therefore, when you apply a patch, you can know exactly where that patch goes and what that patch does. A sysadmin or two can put together a configuration (for 1 box, 100, or 10,000) that they like, and then when a patch comes out, write a small script that busts it into all the systems companywide.

    Besides... Under Linux, it is not quite as critical to apply every single patch, as it is under Windows. Because sysadmins can control everything, they can prevent a lot of the stupidities that make Windows boxes vulnerable, like faulty configurations. And, because every company will likely have different Linux setups, viruses or cracks written for Linux will not have the same widespread effect as they do on Windows, where every Windows box is essentially the same, give or take a few variables.

"Anyone attempting to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." -- John Von Neumann

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