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Microsoft

Microsoft Won't Vouch For Linux 208

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the maybe-uncle-sam-could dept.
theodp writes "Gov. Christine Gregoire applauded Microsoft's job training partnership with WA state and county government agencies, which calls for the distribution of 30,625 training vouchers statewide during the next 90 days. 'This program [Elevate America] is all about equipping people with the new skills they'll need to get a job in the changing economy,' said Microsoft Counsel Brad Smith, who also made it very clear that getting 'workforce ready' won't involve acquiring any Linux skills. At least this offer appears to be no-cost, unlike the $35 Microsoft requested in an e-mail come-on for 'The Stimulus Package for Your Career' (so much for Smith's and Gregoire's war on spam)."
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Microsoft Won't Vouch For Linux

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  • Next year could very well be the Year of Linux on the Desktop.

    All these people with their outdated Microsoft training. Whatever will they do?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Savage-Rabbit (308260)

      All these people with their outdated Microsoft training. Whatever will they do?

      You're right!!! We need to wipe Linux off the face of the face of the earth and what better place to begin than by destroying those smug penguins. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all /. readers with outdated Microsoft training to sign on as commercial Penguin hunters on my upcoming expedition to Antarctica. I need lots of people with deadly chair throwing skills.

  • by Admodieus (918728) <john AT misczak DOT net> on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:16PM (#27574125)
    The theory of common sense states that if a company is paying to offer you training, then the training will probably focus almost entirely on, if not exclusively on, their own products. Does anybody really expect any company, Microsoft included, to pay for you to undergo training to make them obsolete one day/
    • by langelgjm (860756) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:24PM (#27574265) Journal

      Not only that, but honestly, if people are getting training in Microsoft products, that probably means... Windows, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.? I'm thinking it's not so much Visual Studio / MCSE type stuff, but I could be wrong.

      I'm guessing this is aimed at people who are considered unskilled, and after training, will now be able to work in jobs that require basic computer skills that we take for granted. This is not exactly a segment of the population that needs to learn how to use a command-line, or to manipulate strings with sed and awk.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Jonner (189691)

        Yeah, you're right. All GNU/Linux users use command-line interfaces and manipulate strings with sed and awk. Mere mortals should be confined to the Microsoft sandbox. They could never be expected to be productive with anything but the quality products from Redmond.

        • by langelgjm (860756) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:58PM (#27574845) Journal

          Well, that brings up the question, what exactly are "Linux skills"? I mean, if it's using a desktop, moving windows around, learning about files and directories, word processing, and spreadsheets, those aren't Linux skills, they are generic computer/office skills, in which case people are better off learning those skills in Windows, since at that level, that is what they will be using in their new job.

          When I hear "Linux skills", I think "skills you need to use Linux but don't need to use Windows/Mac." So, yeah, command-line. Man pages. If you can't use a terminal or man pages, you're not going to get far with Linux. Maybe it's possible if you're using Ubuntu on very popular hardware and you never do anything exciting with your computer, in which case the skills you need are just as easily learned from Microsoft.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Jonner (189691)

            Yeah, now that I think about it, I was wrong. Training from Microsoft is the best way to learn to use word processors and spreadsheets.They did invent them after all.

            • No. Depending on how loosely you define "word processor", that was either Wang Laboratories or IBM.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_processor#History [wikipedia.org]
            • by exley (221867)

              Training from Microsoft is the best way to learn to use word processors and spreadsheets.They did invent them after all.

              GP made a reasonable point that "people are better off learning those skills in Windows, since at that level, that is what they will be using in their new job." You are just being a passive-aggressive douche.

              • by Jonner (189691)

                If you're arguing that people should learn the Microsoft machine because they control the industry, then you're part of the problem, so I'll take your insult as an indication that I'm doing something right. While it might make sense for an individual to take a "free" voucher from Microsoft because they need to learn Microsoft products for potential jobs, a government supporting Microsoft's dominance isn't good for anyone in the long run.

          • If you have an average Linux sysadmins at your office you won't need to do anything with the cli. In a work environment you can easily use Linux without stepping away from gnome. In fact using the cli could be seen as you trying to break out of your approved environment. I've been lucky enough to have Linux desktop (and plenty of Macs) and the Linux(or same applies to mac) users are usually a lot more self sufficient.(And trust me they aren't geniuses).

            At home, well, I'm sorry but I see plenty of people

          • The people who in an office would on Linux use the command line and Sed/awk are the same people use the command line, edit the registry etc on Windows, they are called network admins or developers?

            The people who actually use the computer, use a word Processor, spreadsheet, email, web-browser and various other apps, the operating system is largely irrelevant to them, and the technical parts, are often too technical for them no matter what operating system is underneath

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by langelgjm (860756)

              The people who actually use the computer, use a word Processor, spreadsheet, email, web-browser and various other apps, the operating system is largely irrelevant to them

              That's exactly the point I'm trying to make. If the OS is irrelevant, then what will they gain from training on Linux with OpenOffice? Nothing. In fact, they will be better off training on Windows with Microsoft Office, because that's what the vast majority of offices use.

        • by samkass (174571)

          Yeah, you're right. All GNU/Linux users use command-line interfaces and manipulate strings with sed and awk.

          Yup! And don't forget gcc!

          It's the MIT/Linux folks that use X Windows...

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by mysticgoat (582871)

        Yes, I've had the unpleasant experience of providing this kind of training through a state agency (not Washington state). The training material will be from existing companies that are Microsoft-approved to do the teaching; the dollars Microsoft pays out will stay within the Microsoft ecosystem. The training will cover basic Windows operations and portions of MS Office (typically Access training is weak or non-existent, while PowerPoint is unduly emphasized). Graduates will have skills in such things as cre

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Full of holes and viruses...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by falcon5768 (629591)

      Apple trained me on not only their products but how to make them work in Unix and Windows environments to the point of explicit Active Directory and LDAP integration a couple of months ago despite having their own directory service called Open Directory (which is basically LDAPv3).

      And they did it for FREE to boot

    • Does anybody really expect any company, Microsoft included, to pay for you to undergo training to make them obsolete one day

      If that company fits the definition of a monopoly, yes.

  • by Leafheart (1120885) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:17PM (#27574145)

    So a company is giving training on their platform, and this is wrong how? Specially, if I understood correctly, it will be "free" (as in, neither the state nor you will pay with money for it, and not the "but they will be brainwashing the masses" type of cost)

    What about Canonical try to partner with a state to offer training vouchers statewide and train people on the ways of Linux? That would be sweet, and awesome. Only think would be try to get Linux users with teaching skills for the non-technical. After all, your public wouldn't be grad students.

    • by Grant_Watson (312705) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:27PM (#27574299)

      Perhaps the objection is that the state partnership gives it the appearance of neutrality? Not sure.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Red Flayer (890720)
        So, as an outreach to all the potential Linux users out there, why don't all the LUGs volunteer time to teach people how to use Linux? Hook up with state resources, threaten to sue if the state refuses to commit resources equal to those given to MS.

        This could be a great way to use grassroots education (open-source education, if you will) to increase the Linux userbase. Also some great PR, as the LUGs get to put a face on Linux users -- some facetime with Joe Sixpack could really help bring Linux into the
      • by iamhigh (1252742)
        Well if it IS giving the appearance of neutrality, then what is the problem?

        But I understand you point... however, do you REALLY, REALLY, think it would be smart of our government to provide computer training on ANYTHING BUT the OS that has 90% market share (yeah, out of thin air, but it has to be close, especially for business). I would argue that giving Mac training would be a considerable waste of tax payer money, and it is probably far more familiar to these people than Linux.
        • The problem is no one teaches people how to think. If you learn off of one OS then those skills will transfer over quite easily to the next operating system if you use a little common sense.

          Therefore the most cost effective method would be teaching on Linux and teaching people to quit expecting everything to be spoon fed to them. As a result we might also have a better workforce and less of an excuse to send jobs overseas.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mea37 (1201159)
        Or perhaps the objection is that it's something that Microsoft is doing.
    • by Aphoxema (1088507) * on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:28PM (#27574331) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, Canonical needs to hurry up and sell it's own version of education exploitation.

      You teach someone to breath your brand of air, they might be skeptical to try someone else's.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by crizpiz (960300)
      Well actually there is a new start up type company called "Stuph Labs" that offers Linux training to the unwashed masses. they tend to focus on teaching secretaries and the like, but its for anyone really. Check them out if your interested. http://www.stuphlabs.net/services/crash/ [stuphlabs.net]
    • With all that sweet, sweet money they're making sending out free CD's? What is their business model anyhoo?
  • "The news conference included comments from Joy Waynewood, a 46-year-old Seattle resident who was laid off from her job as a customer service receptionist in December and plans to use the voucher program to learn Microsoft PowerPoint and Access skills"

    She'd be better off learning a scripting language, that way she won't have to sit there filling in click boxes. Instead let the computer do the job, instead of what invariably happens under the Microsoft paradigm, helping the computer do the work.
    • by Ahnteis (746045) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:32PM (#27574385)

      Yeah, the lady who doesn't know how to use POWERPOINT is going enjoy learning scripting. [huge eye-roll]

    • She'd be better off learning a scripting language, that way she won't have to sit there filling in click boxes. Instead let the computer do the job, instead of what invariably happens under the Microsoft paradigm, helping the computer do the work.

      She probably doesn't want to get laid off again. Filling in click boxes will give her the appearance of being busy and needed.

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Huh? I'm a big proponent of Linux and scripting, but this is silly. Creating PowerPoint presentations is not something that can be automated, just like any other artwork. Yes, PowerPoint is evil, and PP presentations are mostly completely useless, but still, someone who makes PP presentations is not a programmer by any stretch of the imagination.

      This is like saying photographers should learn a scripting language so that they don't ever have to use Photoshop. Yes, some repetitive tasks in PS can be scrip

    • I love how people are snobbish and then try to prove their geek cred by pointing to scripting languages. Come on, even if you've never done assembly language you could at least point to C.

    • by hwyhobo (1420503)

      She'd be better off learning a scripting language

      This is just utter silliness. To get a job by learning scripting, one has to reach a level today that is likely unattainable to her. This is because scripting by itself is not sufficient (even if she can learn enough). One has to understand the context in which it will be used. That means most likely a decent understanding of either system administration or QA. And you want her to learn that with this voucher?

      PowerPoint is used in corporations in thousands of

  • LOL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GNUbuntu (1528599) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:23PM (#27574243)
    Okay this doesn't make any sense from that "stimulus package for your career" spam:

    Get a FREE retake of a failed exam plus an E-Learning Collection for just $35 USD

    Now how can it be a free retake if you have to pay 35 dollars to get it? Is this the same scam like "Free" Credit Report.com that actually requires you to buy a subscription to their site to get the "free" credit report?

  • by idontgno (624372) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:23PM (#27574251) Journal
    Microsoft refuses to bankroll the "We Are Linux" [slashdot.org] marketing video campaign. Those monopolist bastages.
    • by Dreadneck (982170)

      Microsoft refuses to bankroll the "We Are Linux" marketing video campaign.

      Tux dodged a bullet there.

      • by idontgno (624372)
        Good point. It could have been "Seinfeld-Gates" II. I wouldn't wish that on MacOS, let alone an OS I like.
  • Really, what would Linux skills be? The only things that are really uniform between different Linux distributions are the same elements that are already present in Windows anyway.

    And, in general, the common applications available on Linux are also available on Windows. Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, etc.

    • by viralMeme (1461143) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:32PM (#27574389)
      "The only things that are really uniform between different Linux distributions are the same elements that are already present in Windows anyway"

      For server skills, learning scripting is de rigueur if you want to be a serious techie. As Cisco would attest to with its Cisco IOS [wikipedia.org]. The Windows click->select->click_down->select_again->fill_in_a_text_box, is confusing at best, at worst it's difficult to trouble shoot.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by GNUbuntu (1528599)

      Really, what would Linux skills be? The only things that are really uniform between different Linux distributions are the same elements that are already present in Windows anyway.

      Any Linux training would be for a specific distro such as the training provided by Red Hat or Canonical which could encompass a whole wide variety of topics. Here's a list of the courses from Red Hat's training course site: https://www.redhat.com/courses/ [redhat.com]

    • by Aphoxema (1088507) * on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:33PM (#27574409) Homepage Journal

      The basic concept of a bash shell.

      The structure of a typical distribution.

      Why exactly a distribution doesn't have to be typical, what makes things appear to be uniform.

      The server/client model.

      Elements of security.

      Logic.

      Doing shit yourself.

  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:27PM (#27574307)
    Why you consider this bad, I don't understand.

    Linux is taking over in the data centers of America. You don't WANT competition from voucher trained indviduals. The free market will value your Linux skills, and the scarcity will drive your value up.

    Look what MCSE boot camps did to Windows SysAdmin salaries. Just historically chart them with Janco data or Salary.com historical data.

    Personally, I want EVERY government training program to be training people is skills the real free market considers useless. Don't you?
    • by langelgjm (860756)

      Personally, I want EVERY government training program to be training people is skills the real free market considers useless. Don't you?

      Your point is well taken, but I think you underestimate the value of basic computer skills that Microsoft is offering training in. I found the list of stuff they're offering (three [microsoft.com] different [microsoft.com] tiers [microsoft.com]).

      So apparently they are offering some more advanced training in stuff like .NET, Visual Studio, etc., but I'm betting that the vast majority of people who find this useful are going to be learning basic computer/MS Office skills, and those are things the free market values highly - in fact, they're pretty much ta

    • by skathe (1504519) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:51PM (#27574733)

      Agree with the above.

      Being a "guru" has historically meant you will get paid well for doing a job that isn't all that difficult.

      I once heard a story (can't cite a source sorry) about a computer tech working in an office for a cable company. Another computer tech from a different office had shown up, and something prompted one of the ladies in the front of the office to reboot her computer. The computer tech from the other office told the lady he could help her reboot (read: windows 98 was the OS), at which point the lady almost had a panic attack and said that John (the computer tech from this office) was the only one that could reboot the computer. John is called on the intercom, comes to her workstation, fiddles with the underside of the keyboard, the back of the computer, and finally restarts it. When asked later why he did all of that just to hit Start->Shutdown->Restart, he replied "job security."

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      While that's all quite true, our objectives are very different. You're after the green stuff, we're after a better society. Thus this deal is rotten.

    • by SirGarlon (845873) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:30PM (#27575365)

      Personally, I want EVERY government training program to be training people is skills the real free market considers useless. Don't you?

      As a citizen, I would say, "no." I don't want the government to waste effort training people in skills that are useless in the marketplace. I do not, in general, want the government to do stupid things. I fail to see how that would benefit me at all.

    • Sure... unless you're hiring people

  • I am shocked, positively shocked. Who could imagine such a thing?
  • Solidworks is not giving away Autodesk Academy. Autodesk is not giving away Solidworks. Both are giving away academic versions to people who are unemployed. Solidworks is also giving away version of their software(including stuff one could get for free, like blender and sketch-up) to academics. Why would anyone expect MS to train people on Linux? It is insane.

    I like these responses to the current unemployment situation. It is a easy way to get people retrained on your product, which may result in co

  • by westlake (615356) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:49PM (#27574663)

    Read the classified adds.

    Visit your state employment office. Talk to a temp service. Look at the number of jobs which demand competence in MS Office and Windows.

    Look especially closely at entry level jobs. Re-entry jobs for retirees and others long out of the job market.

    The Linux market is in the back office. Where you will be expected to deliver the sun, moon and stars at the deep-discount price.

    This isn't entry level employment. It isn't even your basic up-grade.

    It's for the guy with five to ten years experience managing really, really, big, mission-critical networks and systems.

  • bust isn't Microsoft's Windows being sold as if "grand ma can even use it" all of a sudden one needs to learn how to use a computer... what happened to intuitively poking around and make things work?

    I find it VERY ignorant of anyone (including some family members) not having realized that the computer revolution that started in the 80ies is actually something that they need... whether they LIKE it or NOT.

    Now a company like Microsoft needs to give incentives to make people use computers? Common... wtf... ta

    • by kent_eh (543303)

      what happened to intuitively poking around and make things work?

      You might learn best that way, and I certainly learn well that way, but thousands of sales reps, admins, clerks and middle managers can't learn that way.
      Not won't, can't.

      Just the same way us geeks suck at lots of the things that are intuitive to them.

  • by Junta (36770) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:08PM (#27575007)

    First off, extra caution should be kept in mind in dealing with actions from a convicted monopolist.

    That said, two aspects worry me:
    -Government endorsement of the program. This is just so very peculiar and even outside of the monopolist context, kind of disturbing.
    -I suspect they'll be able to write off expenses incurred in this as a donation. However, MS extracts a non-trivial amount of marketing leverage and as such, expenses should not be considered charitable in nature. As anyone who has undergone MCSE training, MS training programs are comprised of a significant amount of salesmanship.

    • "First off, extra caution should be kept in mind in dealing with actions from a convicted monopolist."

      Or even Microsoft.

  • Drug pushers have been seen in the vicinity of school yards, handing out free samples.
  • 30,000 new hotmail.com accounts and 30,000 new Silverlight downloads.

    I guess if you can't get people to try your crappy software and services on their own, you can shove it down their throat by gov't mandate. Nice.

  • Redhat isn't vouching for Windows either.

  • by atomic-penguin (100835) <(ude.llahsram) (ta) (12eflow)> on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @06:40PM (#27578913) Homepage Journal

    I read the article, and it really is as stupid as the summary and article title. Microsoft won't vouch for Linux! OMG, it must be a Microsoft conspiracy against Linux, let's post it on Slashdot! Who seriously expects Microsoft to provide training vouchers for competing products?

    In other ridiculous and pointless news...

    Oracle won't vouch for SQL Server, MySQL or PostgreSQL.
    Red Hat won't vouch for Solaris.
    EMC won't vouch for Equallogic.
    Dell won't vouch for HP/Compaq, or IBM.
    Google won't vouch for Windows Live Search, or Yahoo.

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