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Microsoft

Ballmer Admits 'Linux Changed Our Game' 660

wackybrit writes: "We've all known Linux has got Microsoft all worried, but they've always denied it. On Monday at a conference in LA, however, Steve Ballmer (of Microsoft) confessed that the FUD surrounding Linux isn't quite what it was made out to be. The Register has also covered the story in an easier to read fashion. They point out that Microsoft has just changed a page on their site which originally derided Linux, but now simply states what 'Windows does better.'"
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Ballmer Admits 'Linux Changed Our Game'

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  • by VirexEye ( 572399 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:03AM (#3899482) Homepage
    The devil is not nicer, he is just trying to improve his appearence to seduce people easier.
  • by tedDancin ( 579948 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:04AM (#3899487)
    My favourite Steve Ballmer quote from this article:

    "We haven't figured out how to be lower priced than Linux"

    (:
    • *chuckles*

      Looking at that microsoft comparison page, its amazing how most of the Linux features and such that they chose to dog on, are the ones that were implemented in order to be compatible with M$ operating systems...

      and they compare web servers on `SIMILAR' hardware... I'd love to see the test on identical hardware...

      My p2-300 is SIMILAR to a p3-900... but they aint the same critter...

      • by Skevin ( 16048 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @03:17AM (#3900019) Journal
        Actually, I recently ran two webservers on identical machines... the exact same machine in fact, at the same time.
        I don't get it - I had them running side by side: IIS with SQL Server 7 on my Windows side; and Apache on my SCO distro out of VMWare from Alpha WINE under SuSE from yet another instance of VMWare on my Win2K destop with data backend consisting of an early Windows MySQL port whose ODBC DSN is traversed across two localhost subnets, thanks to a hacked Samba mod for allowing OLEDB share names over NETBIOS connections.
        Guess which setup ran faster? I could hardly believe my eyes! Everyone here on /. keeps touting the speed of Linux, but no one can tell me what I need to buy to make my Linux setup run faster! This OSS hype is obviously BS.

        Solomon

        PS: But is all seriousness, my reluctance to make my move is based on the apparent lack of Sequencing software and hardware support for my music equipment (MIDI interfaces, multitracking recorder cards, etc.). What *does* exist out there only seems to be able to recognize a (*cough* *cough*) Sound Blaster MIDI port. Any suggestions?
        • by fishbowl ( 7759 )
          >What *does* exist out there only seems to be able to
          >recognize a (*cough* *cough*) Sound Blaster MIDI
          >port. Any suggestions?

          Although I haven't tried it with my USB MidiSport,
          I understand that USB MIDI devices are supported in 2.5.

          There's a whole lot of audio software for Linux but still relatively little to make it a serious choice.
          I do really like ARTSd, but I have latency problems when I run it; problems I don't have running windows softwae (esp. Magix 6, FruityLoops).

          I'm a total Linux enthusiast for the most part, but
          when it comes to my music, Linux is not suitable to the task both because of software availability, and driver compatability.

      • by mpe ( 36238 )
        Looking at that microsoft comparison page, its amazing how most of the Linux features and such that they chose to dog on, are the ones that were implemented in order to be compatible with M$ operating systems.

        Quite a few of the critisisms translate to "Linux dosn't do things the same way as Windows" or even "Linux dosn't use the same jargon as Windows".
        Whilst Windows 2000 may support NFS, AFAIK it does not support NIS. Does Win2k support PAM either?
    • "Microsoft stock price is too high."

      He said this a couple of years ago, when it was over $100. By golly, he was right.
    • by kraf ( 450958 )
      Funny how ?

      It's obvious, they have to _pay_ people to keep using windows.
      It makes economic sense with big customers (see government of Peru)

  • by dougmc ( 70836 ) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:07AM (#3899499) Homepage
    It's remarkably ... fair.

    Not like the old page that said `Linux only had 128 MB swap files' and FUD like that. This page actually lists things that Microsoft does better, in a mostly factual, hype-limited way. They're not trying to be really fair to Linux, but at least they don't pull things that don't matter out of their rear and say `see? we're better!'. The things they list are, at least for a large part of it, actually important, and things that Microsoft does do better.

    As much as I love to bash Microsoft, they're finally doing this right. At least with this page, anyways.

    • by Random Bystander ( 548230 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:15AM (#3899538)
      The way I read that page was that they are trying to compare a homogenized Windows network with a Linux server connecting Windows clients together. Maybe I should read it some more times to see if they are also comparing a homogenized Linux network (or even a Unix-Linux heterogenous network).

      They are really comparing whether Linux will run Microsoft applications / frameworks (eg ASP), not comparing similar or equivalent functionality.

      No, I didn't expect them to be without bias, but all I really see is the same FUD presented in a different way.
      • Yeah they even talk about how MS has

        Support for both CIFS and NFS in an integrated fashion, easily enabling interoperability between UNIX and Windows-based networks.

        Linux has Support for CIFS but only via Samba, not as an integrated, tested solution. They do not even mention the excellent Linux support for NFS. Also, they talk about how Windows has Integrated support for Windows NT®, FTP, HTTP, Appletalk, and Novell environments How does supporting HTTP or FTP make them so special?!?!?! I admit that Linux needs additional software for NT, Appletalk, and Novell file access, but most distros, if they are AT ALL meant to be used as a server, at least have HTTP and FTP! Many even have SAMBA and Netatalk.


      • I agree with your description but disagree this is FUD. A very large percentage of the American business community's desktops are Windows based. In such a scenario Windows proprietary technologies do offer genuine functionality increases.

        Active directory which is cited several times is an excellent example. This is far and away the best large corporate desktop resources location system ever written bar none. For Active Directory to work however virtually every server and every desktop needs to be using Windows 2000 / XP. Samba does not support Active Directory and further Samba is a long way away from supporting this (3.0 isn't even planning on supporting this feature). Now, without a doubt were Microsoft to simple publish the specs Samba servers would be able to read from LDAP and in this sense Microsoft is creating a problem for Linux and then using it as a point to bash Linux. But from a company / OEM perspective it doesn't really matter why this issue it exists; but rather as a result of its existence Linux based servers do lack a valuable feature that Windows 2000 servers offer.

        Another example he cites is support for ASP. Again ASP is a Microsoft standard but it's a popular standard with Web Developers and objectively Apache is inferior to IIS in supporting it.

        Certainly in a full fledged Unix shop (like many academic departments, or certain retail chains) you could make similar claims about the disadvantages of a Windows 2000 server when compared to a native Unix server. You wouldn't find those sorts of claims to be FUD but rather obvious truths. I don't see how this case is different.
        • " This is far and away the best large corporate desktop resources location system ever written bar none"

          Well I doubt it's as good as NDS but we'll let that one go.

          "For Active Directory to work however virtually every server and every desktop needs to be using Windows 2000 / XP. Samba does not support Active Directory and further Samba is a long way away from supporting this"

          By the time the corporations upgrade every single one of their desktops to windows 2K linux will be able to connect to a AD server. In fact it can do that now! Check out this [securityfocus.com] or
          this [networkcomputing.com]

          "But from a company / OEM perspective it doesn't really matter why this issue it exists;"

          True for some people but not others. There are some ethical people in business and surely there must a few business people whith a moral compass. I would even venture to guess that there might be a few business executives who could muster more synapses then a couple of dead files and could see through this situation. But then again with all that's happening in the business world today I may be totally off base.
    • by bilbobuggins ( 535860 ) <bilbobuggins&juntjunt,com> on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:24AM (#3899584)
      Actually it seems to me that a lot of the drawbacks on the page can be summed up as 'incompatible with Windows', which depending on how you look at it isn't a drawback at all.
      For reference see points:

      -Windows users need a seperate account on *nix boxes
      -Linux doesn't have native ASP support
      -Linux doesn't have native Active Directory support
      etc.

      And this still doesn't stop some good old fashioned flaming FUD from slipping in, and I quote:
      'Given the recent cutbacks and layoffs at many commercial Linux vendors, including Red Hat's recent 17 percent reduction in it workforce, it is questionable whether commercial Linux vendors will be around to provide support in the long term'

      Not to mention the obligatory paragraph about why the GPL leads to anarchy.
      So sure, maybe it's an improvement over the old page but as expected still mostly hot air blowing...

      • by Goonie ( 8651 ) <[gro.arbmaneb] [ta] [lekrem.trebor]> on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:53AM (#3899691) Homepage
        Distilling their competitive evaluation, I noticed the following themes:
        • There are 27 different ways of doing foo on Linux, whereas Microsoft offers a clear, standard solution.

        This is true. Microsoft does tend to impose the One True Way (TM), which can simplify some things. However, other people regard the fact that you can choose the best technologies for your application as a positive.

        • Capability bar is available as part of Microsoft operating systems, but it's a seperate app in Linux.

        Also often true, but: a) a lot of those capabilities are Windows tools that you probably wouldn't use in a Linux project unless you had to for compatibility reasons, b) a lot of them were open source packages that are usually packaged by the various distributions and are an apt-get away from installing, c) if they're open source, the extra licensing costs are zero anyway, and d) who says building everything into the OS is a good idea anyway?

        • Some bits of Linux are immature and buggy

        And Windows is perfect?

        It's good news that MS are changing their arguments to push their products over Linux-based solutions, because it tends to suggest that their customers (at least in this application domains) weren't listening to their old ones.

      • FWIW...

        HEY! Do you need to setup accounts in 3 or 4 places to get the desired result? (See NT User account, IIS Account, SQL Server account, etc.)
        HEY! Can Linux do BLUE SCREENS? - We can.Boy HOWDY!
        HEY! Windows doesn't nave builtin BASH support!
        HEY! Windows doesn't have built-in FINGER support either!

        Sure, if one creates a bunch of propietary type stuff and wants to pride one's company on it...yeah the other boys won't have it.. but they do have standards. Ewwww...what a concept - standards.

        Again, FWIW, I'm a web developer and corporately have to code most of my stuff to fit IE..but damned if I don't hate their "extensions" of standard things. Read "Bastardizations of standards".
      • -Windows users need a seperate account on *nix boxes
        pam_smb [csn.ul.ie] will help you here a lot. :)
      • And this still doesn't stop some good old fashioned flaming FUD from slipping in, and I quote:
        'Given the recent cutbacks and layoffs at many commercial Linux vendors, including Red Hat's recent 17 percent reduction in it workforce, it is questionable whether commercial Linux vendors will be around to provide support in the long term'

        I'm surprised you don't take this seriously. Check out Red Hat's financials [yahoo.com]. They don't impress.

    • Most of what's there is carefully contstructed to make windows look really good by defining "really good" as what windows is. Surprisingly enough when compared to that critera, Windows looks good, Linux doesn't. You'll notice they use the words "native" and "integrated" in just about every point. It's not that linux doesn't have that stuff, it's just that it isn't made by the same company/group that makes the distribution (which includes just about everything).

      The whole IP thing is just FUD. If yuo use linux to run your servers you are much less likely to fall foul of IP laws than if you use Windows in the same situation. Compare the usage restrictions in MS's EULA and in the GPL (for the uninformed, there aren't any in the GPL).

      And then there's the SpecWeb99 link. The machines compared is Windows 2k with RH 6.1 in Q4 1999. If you actually bother to go to the full list [spec.org] you'll find that linux servers are generally faster than IIS running on the same hardware. Sometimes being over twice as fast.

      So no, this isn't any "fairer" than the last page. It's just less full of complete untruths. Instead it has things that are technically true but not the whole story. A quite nice example of content free marketing.

    • by Nailer ( 69468 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @01:34AM (#3899788)
      The `new' document isn't much of a replacement for the old. The new one is talking about embedded OSs, the formar one was talking about servers in general. I think someone got confused...MS still publish their Competing With Linux Partner Guide (or did last month, anyway) which has the same arguments re: TCO as their old comparative guides.

      Not to mention, the new guide isn't very fair either:
      1. SMB is integrated into Linux about as much as it is under Windows (the service is called smbd or server in each OS, turn it on, and go). We have multiple clients for network browsing and attaching to shares is handles as natively as NFS is. Server Appliance manufacturers simply don't have to do any Samba programming to make Samba function in an ordinary network - it works by default. Its also repeatedly benchmarked faster than the Windows implementation.
      2. Linux can and is performing Active Directory in real world enterprise environments. Check out Quantum's Guardian 14000 NAS device, which runs a AD Enabled Samba to provide Linux native AD support for its 1.4TB of storage. Although the Samba code used contains beta code from Samba 3, but these aren't cheap boxes and the utmost of reliability is expected from them.
      3. Scalability does not mean the ability to run on massively parallel x86 boxes. Windows 2000 runs on currently one platform. It does not scale to server class hardware beyond IA64. Linux does.
      4. last time I saw a Specweb test, Tux on Linux trouced IIS on Win32, just like Samba on Linux trounced `Server' on Win32.
      5. PHP is more popular than ASP Windows doesn't do PHP without addon software. [zend.com] The source is Netcraft, also quoted by Microsoft in their own benchmarks.
      6. Again. Microsoft's definition of integrated is flawed. Its possible to build a modular OS where applications communicate with each other using standard protocols - you don't have to turn on everything by default.
      7. Windows File Protection isn't necessary on Linux because Linux doesn't allow Joe User to save a trojan as C:\EXPLORER.EXE. Kudzu handles automatic configuration of hardware and requires less reboots to do so (test: configure a Linux / Windows XP dual boot on one system, pull out the hard disk, put it in another machine, time how long it takes for Kudzu /Windows Plug and Play to fix things)
      8. NTFS is a semi journaling filesystem. Hence chkdisk takes a few minutes to recover the journal on NTFS 5.1, whereas Ext3 does it in a half second.
      9. Red Hat does only have 2 official `certified' RAID for 7.3 drivers but according to the same HCL will support over thirt drives - whose vendors have not used Red Hat for testing, and thus are not `certified'. Likewise, there were only two certified apps for Windows 2000 professional when it was released (Omnipage and another app, IIRC).
      10. Integration is why distributions exist. That is their function. Standards are handled by the Linux Standard Base.
      11. The Web User Interface in Windows 2000 SAK is limited in out of the box functionality, requiring users to log directly into the device (rendering the device prone to significant danger through user tampering) to perform basic functions advertised in Win2000 SAK devices, like send alerts to an email address. As soon as users go out of your web based GUI (and they are required to) your server appliance is no longer an appliance - its a 2GB default install of Windows 2000 which users can and will modify (because the system encourages them to), increasing your support costs.
      12. If you want to program an app for Linux, and don't wish to Open Source your application, simply write your own code. You don't even get this choice with Windows 200 SAK - you MUST write your own code.
      13. That Microsoft would assume that the number of bug announcements for a product is indicative of that products security status illustrates a non existent understanding of basic security principles. All vulnerabilities are not reported, and bugs differ in severity and mitigation. According to ZDNet, Microsoft take a average of more than four times longer than Red Hat to patch a known flaw in their products, leaving MS customers exposed for longer periods of time. Furthermore Microsoft has a habit of not patching vulnerabilities at all - anyone who purchased Exchange 5.0 years ago (which had a known vulnerability allowing spammers to steal bandwidth from companies deploying the product) will know this - Microsoft never fixed the problem - customers had to PAY to upgrade to Exchange 5.5 to do this. As far as I know, the problem persists to this day (I'm not as involved in the Microsoft world as I used to be, having focused on Linux for the last three years).
      14. Last time I saw, Kerberos 5 was supported in Red Hat Linux as a stanard option. Run setup, turn on Kerberos, enter the server details, done. Modern Linux does not authenticate in clear text, this is a falsehood. The MD5 algorithm used in Linux's shadow password file is stronger than the MD4 used in NTLM2 authentication, which has known flaws and is no longer recommended by those who originally created it. NTLM2 is necessary to authenticate Windows clients pre Windows 2000, such as NT4 and Windows 98, the most popular versions of Windows in existence.
      15. Soon after Microsoft's alleged `security refocus' third parties found major vulnerabilities in Microsofts web server and browser platforms that were missed during the one month long `audit'
      16. The GNU Public licensing model also does not contain licensing provisions that require an OEM, and potentially its licensees, to disclose the source code for its intellectual property in a widespread fashion to open source participants. To suggest otherwise is a fabrication. It does offer the option to use Open Source application code within an OEMs products. If this option is exercised, and the resultant application distributed, the company has obligations to also distribute source code of that application. This does not apply to Windows systems because Windows OEMs do not have this option. Linux OEMs may choose as they wish.
  • Ballmer now concedes that MS execs "haven't figured out how to be lower-priced than Linux.

    You keep them on that task Ballmer. And let me know when they figure out how to be lower-priced than free. My bet, it'll take them a while.
    • Pay customers to use their product, of course. Some may actually agree! ;-)
    • by $carab ( 464226 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:20AM (#3899567) Journal
      How about selling Microsoft Action Figures for 30 bucks a pop? There could be a role playing game and everything! This could easily drive the price of Win XP Home to 10 bucks a CD.

      Imagine the glint in a child's eyes when they see their new:
      1. Steve "Basher" Ballmer - Crushing Competitors as easily as he totally freaks out about Microsofts "Message". Now with optional Club to beat you choice of AOL icon, Penguin, or Whatever-the hell-that-demonic-OSX-Platypus is!
      2. Bill "Money" Gates - Teached Children the values of sound financial management - buy low, sell exorbitant. Also instructs on how to "borrow" TCP stacks from BSD Licensed software! Now comes with optional "Small Carribean Island with mountain shaped like Skull" (150$ retail) - a perfect lair.
      3. Richard "Get a Job you Hippie" Stallman - Comes with Stinkbomb activated when you touch his software - The message is clear Long hair and free software are Communist. The ultimate in family values - America, Microsoft!
      4. Evil Tux - Painfully teaches children early about the dangers of playing with penguins - Keep him away from face and Groin areas!
      5. Bob, the Well-Bankrolled FUD Software Study producer - Just poke his belly, he'll come up with classics like..."Linux is less secure than Windows", "Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft", "The first hit is free!" and everybodys favorite "Did I mention youre going to need some backup servers?"


      6. Microsoft - The Toys. The Game. Resistance is futile!
      • how about a microsoft fighting game. snk Vs capcom Vs microsoft you could be the paperclip and have attacks like annoting sound effects and finishing moves like blue screen of death. there could also be a bill gates character with attacks like software bundling and a crack team of layers for renforcment
    • Probably couldn't go lower without paying us to use it. But as a software company they could make their OS a "loss leader" to sell their applications to home users, something they already do to a certain extent through their hardware partners. They could Bundle it with corporate licenses and then compete on price in the real server OS marketplace.

      Well, the server market would be harder I think because IBM,SUN,HP and Apple now have lower cost server offerings. Especially interesting will be Apple in the 1U niche if their new server can perform up to expectations.

      But Yes, I do think they can compete on price and probably will to keep market share.

      Ballmer might have been trying to interject a little humor with this remark but price competition isn't out of the question IMO.
    • by Saint Fnordius ( 456567 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:51AM (#3899686) Homepage Journal
      Microsoft got big by taking the discount route to software: make what the other guy's making, but make it for a lower sticker price. Since it's harder to tell a rip-off from the original when it comes to software, they made a killing.

      One Linux exposed the sham behind their strategy, they were stumped. They had gotten so used to price-dumping rivals out of business that they coudn't imagine a product without a company. And you know what? They still can't. They attack Red Hat, SuSE, Lindows and the others because they can't attack the developers themselves.

      Their attack strategy is like a hammer. It's good against other rocks, but worthless against a pond. How do you break the form of something that has no form?
    • You keep them on that task Ballmer. And let me know when they figure out how to be lower-priced than free. My bet, it'll take them a while.

      Actually, they figured it out already. You can force your customer to install your product [microsoft.com] by bundling it with another product [microsoft.com] that the customer is already buying. Then your product really is cheaper than free, because there is a non-zero cost (in time and knowledge) involved in getting rid of it.

  • by Gandalf04 ( 447716 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:11AM (#3899512)
    Is it just me, or does this seem not quite real to you? (It may just be my young cynicism speaking out though.)

    On the other hand, I am still struck by the seeming ease at which M$ manages to tout "new" features as distinct to its oh-so-better-OS. Just the other day my father remarked "Did ya hear that MS says its new OS will allow you to record your own TV shows and listen to online music?" I also recall this happening with ripping/burning music, watching compressed audio, the idea of an OS with a GUI, etc.

    It seems that MS marketing department isn't being completely honest yet, just not as stupid.
  • Halloween Docs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qwerpoiu ( 532823 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:18AM (#3899552)
    This happened in 1998, but only inside MS.
    I'm amazed they're doing what they now are.

    From the (http://opensource.org/halloween/halloween2.php) anotated halloween docs, which were leaked in 1998:
    ------

    Here are some notable quotes from the document, with hotlinks to where they are embedded. It's helpful to know that ``OSS'' is the author's abbreviation for ``Open Source Software''.

    * Linux represents a best-of-breed UNIX, that is trusted in mission critical applications, and - due to it's open source code - has a long term credibility which exceeds many other competitive OS's.
    * Most of the primary apps that people require when they move to Linux are already available for free. This includes web servers, POP clients, mail servers, text editors, etc
    * An advanced Win32 GUI user would have a short learning cycle to become productive [under Linux].
    * I previously had IE4/NT4 on the same box and by comparison the combination of Linux / Navigator ran at least 30-40% faster when rendering simple HTML + graphics.
    * Long term, my simple experiments do indicate that Linux has a chance at the desktop market ...
    * Consumers Love It.
    * Linux's (real and perceived) virtues over Windows NT include: Customization ... Availability/Reliability ... Scaleability/Performance ... Interoperability ...
    * Linux is emerging as a key operating system in the nascent thin server market
    * Using today's server requirements, Linux is a credible alternative to commercial developed servers in many, high volume applications.
    * The effect of patents and copyright in combatting Linux remains to be investigated.
    * Note, however, that Compaq and Dell merely have to credibly threaten Linux adoption in order to push for lower OEM OS pricing.
    • OEM sales are poor and still declining and manufacturers seem to be stating that they haven't hit the bottom yet. This means that Microsoft's primary source of income has been diminishing and will only rebound a quarter or two after equipment sales rebounds. Since before the down turn, MS has been unprofitable enough to have to use creative bookkeeping [economist.com] including such as withholding dividends, avoiding taxes and cost shifting. Further, as their stock values plumment, they'll have to compensate employees with real cash...

      Assuming that MS doesn't turn out to be as insolvent as Worldcom or Enron, their current strategy seems to lead them out of software development and into providing services. With software no longer their primary money maker, it'll be pushed to the side probably much the same way that stability and security have been pushed asided for new features.

      This may be one of a long chain of public announcements leading to MS support of OSS while they try to figure out how to lock in OSS users [ddj.com].

      • OEM sales are poor and still declining and manufacturers seem to be stating that they haven't hit the bottom yet. This means that Microsoft's primary source of income has been diminishing and will only rebound a quarter or two after equipment sales rebounds.

        Is OEM Windows Microsoft's primary income source? I though they made more money from selling office.

        Since before the down turn, MS has been unprofitable enough to have to use creative bookkeeping [economist.com] including such as withholding dividends, avoiding taxes and cost shifting.

        The way things are going it'll only be news when a large US corporation is found to have uncooked books...

        Further, as their stock values plumment, they'll have to compensate employees with real cash...

        Possible positive feedback for Microsoft. Assuming that Microsoft executives don't simply asset strip and abscond.
  • I have seen comparisons over the years of various forms of Win32 compared to various commercial Unix variants, cost wise, and it has always been my impression that once you get to more than a few users, or into serious serving, Win32 was more expensive than Unix. Win32 only one for small print or email servers, that kind of thing, say for an office with 10 clients. It all came down to Win32 per-seat charges, where Unix has always had unlimited sendmail and print servers.

    Is / was this actually true? Did / does it also apply to databases and other packages which have per-seat charges? I realize hardware confuses the comparisons, because commerical Unix has always been tied to specific hardware, making it hard to separate the prices.

    Probably not phrased right. I personally have avoided M$ products as much as possible, because first, they have been obnoxiously buggy, second, they have only been useful if you want to do things their way, not if you want to do things just a little bit different, and lastly, because they have lousy business ethics. So I don't have any real world knowledge of how much Win32 systems cost. I am just curious about general cost comparisons.
    • Any software, Sun's or MS's, gets insanely expensive in a hurry. If you took a 1000 person company and compared the true Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of a complete Solaris system vs. a complete Win system you would probably find that the cost is the same. A company of this size should have support contracts for the sofware and contracts for hardware, plus a small army of admins. After those yearly costs the initial hardware and licence fees are peanuts. Even if the initial licence fee is $0 for a free Unix. Both Sun and MS have tried to prove that the TCO is in their favour. Neither have been particularly convinceing. You can easily replace "Sun" with any Unix vendor.

      All vendors use per seat licenseing to some degree or another. You might be paying for a per seat license directly ala MS, or you might pay in upfront costs ala Sun. The per seat licenseing really only affects the little guys. Most of the bigger sites will just buy a site wide license if everyone is going to use the software. It should be noted that most of the interesting software is licensed per seat. All Sun really ships that is not per seat licenced is a fileserver and print spooler. If you use a free Unix you get a "complete exterprise solution" for free provided you have a small army of admin staff. This is were TCO kicks in. Licenseing is only a small part of TCO. It is the support contracts and admin staff that will really determine the TCO.

      For any system that combines a mix of platforms the TCO will usually be higher. This is all this MS page really shows. A windows desktop is assumed.

      Today due in large part to StarOffice/OpenOffice, Mozilla, and Evolution any office of any size could drop MS from the desktop and be quite happy. However the cost of switching remains really really high.
  • HA HA HA HA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:26AM (#3899589) Homepage

    Some decent comparisons there, but then, along comes the FUD, I guess they couldn't resist:

    Advantage of going Microsoft: Better business alignment with straightforward licensing and clarity of intellectual property ownership.

    Let's skip the meaningless "Better business alignment" and skip straight to the part that keeps the bullshit detector pegged at 10.

    I think the GPL is pretty damn clear. If you redistribute the code, you have to license under the GPL. And if you don't like it, you can choose to completely ignore the GPL (thus falling back to copyright law).

    Microsoft's "licenses" (which may change during the next upgrade, and even change randomly depending on the version of the product or where you bought it from, and may someday change AT ANY TIME), these licenses DO NOT allow ANY kind of re-distribution. They do not allow you to use the product you bought any way you like (even though this may not be enforcable, they assert it anyway). And you MUST accept the license, it's not optional. You could be sued by Microsoft for doing something in the privacy of your own home. Like using the wrong kind of remote access software (or whatever that one was). Or maybe this week the license will forbid copying MP3s. Or maybe next week it will allow Microsoft unilateral access to your pr0n collection. Who knows?

    The GPL is straightforward, written in straightforward English, and most importantly of all, is exactly the same in all GPL'd software. You know exactly what you're getting and can reject it up front, if you want.

    C'mon Microsoft, nobody except a few PHB's are buying this intellectual property cancer unAmerican anti-GPL crap, so GIVE UP!

    • Re:HA HA HA HA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by e_n_d_o ( 150968 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @01:48AM (#3899830)
      What I find most pathetic about their argument is statements like this one (from the Microsoft Embedded page):

      An example of this risk can be taken from NVIDIA. An NVIDIA programmer, in the course of developing a driver for one of its products, used a portion of code from a freely available video driver. The developer failed to realize the code was licensed under the GPL and would therefore require NVIDIA to release the source code for its entire driver. Because NVIDIA did not want to release the source code to its commercial software, the company incurred substantial cost to develop a new driver that did not contain the GPL code.

      If you're going to use someone else's source code, you better sure as heck check the license they are providing it under.

      This case is not much different than a hypothetical where a developer takes a chunk of Microsft's proprietary source code and uses it in a piece of their own proprietary software. The only difference is that with the GPL, the developer has the option of either making his license compatible with the GPL or removing the component from his project.
      • Re: 3rd option (Score:2, Insightful)

        by hany ( 3601 )
        The only difference is that with the GPL, the developer has the option of either making his license compatible with the GPL or removing the component from his project.

        3rd option: Negotiate a special licence from copyright holder of GPLed work under which you can keep borrowed code in your software and still distribute it under other that GPL license.

      • don't forget! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @07:38AM (#3900718) Journal
        Don't forget that the offending bit of code was fairly small, NVIDIA definately DID NOT have to develop a NEW driver, they just rewrote a relatively small section of it. It took them almost no time at all.

        This is a great example of pure FUD being spewed by Microsoft, they are blatantly misrepresenting the facts. In this case it's pretty much an outright lie.

        Talk about lack of professionalism! Microsoft is a many billion dollar company, you'd think they'd have more professionalism by now. Then again, look at the current U.S. economy, it seems a lot of large companies these days lack professionalism, they're run by money grubbing greedy bastards.

    • Re:HA HA HA HA (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wansu ( 846 )
      Some decent comparisons there, but then, along comes the FUD, I guess they couldn't resist:

      Advantage of going Microsoft: Better business alignment with straightforward licensing and clarity of intellectual property ownership.

      Let's skip the meaningless "Better business alignment" and skip straight to the part that keeps the bullshit detector pegged at 10.


      No. Wait. Let's dwell on it some. Consider the mindset of the asshat sloganeer who cooked up this gem. They probably pay this guy a whole lot to come up with stuff like this.

    • Re:HA HA HA HA (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mpe ( 36238 )
      I think the GPL is pretty damn clear. If you redistribute the code, you have to license under the GPL.

      The GPL is written in fairly easy to understand language. Also "redistribute" in this context only applies to distributing it outside your orgainsation. Distributing it within your own organisation is unrestricted. (Only likely to directly be an issue for something like Enron, with it's interlocking matrix of holding companies.)

      And if you don't like it, you can choose to completely ignore the GPL (thus falling back to copyright law).

      Even if you disagree with the GPL you can still use the software. Most entities which want to use software simply arn't in the business of distributing software in the first place.

      Microsoft's "licenses" (which may change during the next upgrade, and even change randomly depending on the version of the product

      It's quite possible for a company to upgrade Microsoft stuff, then discover that something previously ok (by the licence) is no longer ok. So not only do they have the cost of ungrading the software they also have the cost of changing how they do their business.

      They do not allow you to use the product you bought any way you like (even though this may not be enforcable, they assert it anyway).

      This is probably the the major difference the EULAs (goodness knows how they make any sense at all where the software is owned by corporate entity A, installed and configured by person B and actually used by person C) perport to control how the software is used. Which IMHO isn't "copyright" it's "useright".

      C'mon Microsoft, nobody except a few PHB's are buying this intellectual property cancer unAmerican anti-GPL crap, so GIVE UP!

      You can reasonably easily relate the GPL to the IP clause in the US constitution. Try that with an EULA...
  • We've all known Linux has got Microsoft all worried, but they've always denied it.

    Umm... no, the haven't. Anyone who remembers the Halloween documents (and the subsequent Microsoft statement saying "ya, those were real") knows that they have always considered it a threat and they've made no secret of it.

    In the words of the Wolf from Pulp Fiction: "Let's not start sucking each others dicks just yet."

  • by grylnsmn ( 460178 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:32AM (#3899609)
    While Microsoft's new page is a nice change from the old one, it still contains quite a bit of their same old FUD. Here's a nice tidbit from the very bottom of the page:

    To ensure proper management of its intellectual property rights, an OEM must carefully examine an array of licensing complexities around the General Public License (GPL) that govern Linux. These complexities have resulted in embedded and dedicated operating system companies such as Wind River saying that they are seeing "a growing problem due to the growing uncertainty of using GPL-based code in embedded devices". An example of this risk can be taken from NVIDIA. An NVIDIA programmer, in the course of developing a driver for one of its products, used a portion of code from a freely available video driver. The developer failed to realize the code was licensed under the GPL and would therefore require NVIDIA to release the source code for its entire driver. Because NVIDIA did not want to release the source code to its commercial software, the company incurred substantial cost to develop a new driver that did not contain the GPL code.

    Companies need to recognize that in embedded and dedicated devices, such as server appliances, significant gray areas exist in the implications of the GPL's terms. Some forms of code linking and commingling may or may not trigger legal obligations under the GPL. As Michael Scott and Michael Krieger, a lawyer and computer science professor respectively, recently wrote, "Rare is the month when a lawyer who specializes in technology does not have a new client asking for help in untangling an open source code problem".


    In other words, they are still yelling "GPL bad! MS good!", they're just using a more dignified approach now.

    I find it especially telling to look at the example they used. They place all the blame for the NVIDIA programmer's mistake on the GPL. I'm sorry, but if you are going to use someone else's code in your program, it is your fault if you don't abide by their rules, not theirs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:36AM (#3899623)
    Free software advocates have argued for years now that freedom could help create Free Software and frighten frustrating societies in once-repressive, impoverished and technologically-primitive regimes.

    This idea is responsive. It attracted people like me to business and Slashdot in the first place. That they are new is almost beside the point. How will proprietary freedom be curbed, and Ballmer developed, in regimes that are interesting and repressive? Why would these interesting governments support the use of Microsoft to destroy an open society any more than they would sanction interesting business or abandon censorship?

    Free Software is the hippest political idea around at the moment, perhaps because it has been hijacked so completely by the multinationals. Herd-like college kids and new political activists associate experience with a broad range of information, from cultural imperialism to Free Software to fascinating system.

    But others (like me) see it as the best hope for a world in which gaps between the Microsoft and Free Software worlds are widening, and the have-nots are increasingly enraged at the fascinating information.

  • by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:37AM (#3899633)
    Funny, those four distinct advantages are exactly the advantages I see Linux has over NT. Microsoft has the arguments right, they just confused the two operating systems.

    Proven, comprehensive operating system platforms delivering seamless integration, industry-leading scalability and performance, broad application support, and solid reliability.

    Yes, given Linux's extremely widespread use, including at some of the biggest Internet sites in the world, Linux certainly has this advantage.

    Faster time-to-market via powerful tools and an extensible framework.

    Linux's Posix-based environment is proven, extensible, mature, and very widely used. Its Internet, services, management, and GUI frameworks are also highly extensible and industry leading. An additional time-to-market advantage is the immediate availability of updates and bug fixes throughout the community. This is in contrast with Microsoft's centralized development style, in which I am completely dependent on their efforts to deliver bug fixes.

    Ease of deployment, interoperability, and manageability in a heterogeneous environment.

    Indeed: score another one for Linux. Its POSIX foundations, widest support for network protocols and services, and multitude of options for management (including command line, GUI-based and network based), make it the clear winner.

    Better business alignment with straightforward licensing and clarity of intellectual property ownership.

    Yes, I very much prefer the straightforward licensing and clarity of the GPL over the muddy and complex legal agreements with a company like Microsoft. Furthermore, licensing costs for Linux are predictable in perpetuity. And, as an added bonus, I do not need to hire expensive lawyers to analyze the GPL--it is a known, standard, predictable agreement.

  • So, according to some study on webservers [spec.org] (probably funded exclusively by M$), IIS 5 performs better than Zeus 3.3.2. Yes, Zeus. Seriously, who in their right mind would compare Zeus to IIS rather than Apache and IIS? And I love how they use different hardware for the comparisons... kinda trying to imply that Linux doesn't work on "normal" Dell hardware, but only "expensive" IBM hardware.

    Here's the quote from M$:


    Server appliances built on Windows 2000 perform better versus Linux on similar equipment in SPECweb tests. A SPECweb99 study [spec.org] found that a Windows 2000 Web server could process more requests and serve more users than a similarly configured computer running Linux. The Windows 2000-based server with Internet Information Server (IIS) 5.0 handled 707 concurrent connections, compared to 545 connections for the Linux-based.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The Windows 2000-based server with Internet Information Server (IIS) 5.0 handled 707 concurrent connections, compared to 545 connections for the Linux-based

      In addition, Linux incorrectly processed a large number of Code Red and NIMDA requests by returning a 404, but were properly handled by IIS by giving full access to the machine....
  • web benchmark (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ramadog ( 535075 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:41AM (#3899644)
    I followed the link towards the bottom of the ms/linux comaprison where it says ms makes a better web server platform. The benchmark they are quoting is over 1 1/2 years old and show that the ms based system had faster hardware.

    Run your operating system on faster hardware then claim it is faster than the opposition. One way to get benchmarks in your favour.
  • Quote:
    An example of this risk can be taken from NVIDIA. An NVIDIA programmer, in the course of developing a driver for one of its products, used a portion of code from a freely available video driver. The developer failed to realize the code was licensed under the GPL and would therefore require NVIDIA to release the source code for its entire driver. Because NVIDIA did not want to release the source code to its commercial software, the company incurred substantial cost to develop a new driver that did not contain the GPL code.

    So basically you are stating that if you steal the GPL code, and then someone catches you that you must spend time to write the code yourself. Wow. What a huge risk.

    I wonder why they are worried about that type of risk....
    • So basically you are stating that if you steal the GPL code, and then someone catches you that you must spend time to write the code yourself. Wow. What a huge risk.

      Indeed. I wonder what happens if you are caught stealing Microsoft code? ;^)

  • Pot ..., meet Kettle (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BigAl_nz ( 39616 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:50AM (#3899681)
    "This potentially ties the OEM to a particular Linux vendor's distribution and its support programs."

    "This can tie the OEM to a particular, potentially financially unstable Linux vendor and its support programs"

    "With Linux, the OEM will have to take on the extra integration work to incorporate an add-in JFS or opt for a vendor-specific Linux distribution such as Red Hat, tying the OEM to that vendor for ongoing upgrades, support, and maintenance at an extra cost."

    Wow, M$ saying that being tied to a single vendor is a bad thing, for once, they're right !

  • Interesting. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ErikZ ( 55491 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:52AM (#3899689)

    You guys saw him admitting that Linux made them change their ways.

    I read it as "The reason the cost of Windows hasn't gone down is because of Linux."
    • Re:Interesting. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Longfeather ( 467319 )
      lol. Given the past 7 years of Microsoft products your insight makes sense. Remember Windows 98 Second Edition? Wow! A bug fix release for Windows 98 that they marketed as a new product - talk about supreme marketing strategy. Windows ME? Hmmm...who thought there could be so many flavours of vanilla ice-cream?

      Microsoft has consistently proven their ability to control their marketplace. Now that they must compete with a free and popular alternative it is interesting to see how they play their cards. When I wander stores and see Windows XP (Professional) selling for CAN $400 [futureshop.ca] (note, these links may not work due to session tracking, check out Future Shop (Canada) [futureshop.ca] for price details) and Microsoft Office for CAN $600 [futureshop.ca] I am forced to ponder the corporate strategies involved. How long can I be a pawn milked for my money by a company that attempts to force overpriced products down my gullet? I am lucky enough to see the writing on the wall. Linux is the only competitive product capable to compete with the Microsoft phenomenon/monetary-monopoly and it is FREE.

      As a frequent computer user I lean to the side of software written by people who write it to make a better product before considering the money they may make. Cheers to Linux.

    • Re:Interesting. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MeNeXT ( 200840 )
      The way I read it is that this has kept the cost down. MS is not charging for some features on its servers because they would lose market share. Here is what I see.

      IIS is included in all their servers.

      Front page which used to be a free download not cost $$$.

      If it was not for Linux there would be a few $$$ with IIS. Chances are you would have to purchase it like exchange.

      Just my $0.02

  • The best part from the comparison page is in the scaling/performance block:

    This can tie the OEM to a particular, potentially financially unstable Linux vendor and its support programs...

    Microsoft is worried that a particular software package may tie users to a particular vendor. Oh the irony...

    BTW - anyone know what a karma value of 'Excellent' means? Does this mean I've reached the cap?

  • by lindahl ( 191228 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:55AM (#3899699) Homepage
    From http://www.microsoft.com/windows/Embedded/sak/eval uation/compare/advantage.asp [microsoft.com]:
    "This potentially ties the OEM to a particular Linux vendor's distribution and its support programs."

    Oooh, that can't be good. Let's buy everything from Microsoft...

    • " Oooh, that can't be good. Let's buy everything from Microsoft..."

      You know what's really funny? The fact that most business people believe everything this guy says. Does anybody have any theories as to why business people (especially CIOs) are so stupid? Has anybody done any studies on this subject? I would love to read them.

      As if CIOs thinking they could sue MS if something went wrong wasn't bad enough.
      • by heikkile ( 111814 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @03:13AM (#3900010) Homepage
        Does anybody have any theories as to why business people (especially CIOs) are so stupid? Has anybody done any studies on this subject?

        Simple: They wear suits and ties. The purpose of the tie is reduce the blood flow to the brain so that the business people won't feel the pain of working under such inhuman conditions. Naturally this further reduces their intelligence, but this is usually considered a bonus, as it makes it easier for them to follow company policy and to survive in the harsh environment.

  • Money (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lcde ( 575627 )
    I too was impressed by the actual pt-2-pt comparison of Linux to Windows and agree that many things could be summed up as Lack of Compatibillity to Windows. They also were comparing "Windows only" programs and saying that Linux doesnt have them.

    The other strange notice was the repeating theme of money, and that Linux Distros dont have money to back them up.

    To me just shows that all the money is going to their heads. And just cause you have it doesnt mean you know what to do with it.

    Also I noticed no mention of OpenSource and how anyone around the world could help make a product better instead of X number of Microsoft Employees.

    But i guess I cant expect to much on a MS website.
  • by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @12:56AM (#3899703)
    This is the "Embrace" phase of "embrace and extend".

  • Linux offers support for ASP but it is non-native and requires an add-on program to Apache or some other Web server deployed on Linux.

    THIS JUST IN, Ford motor company says their trucks are better than Chevy simply because a ford transmission won't fit into a Chevy truck!

  • by Llywelyn ( 531070 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @01:09AM (#3899733) Homepage
    Its odd to see MS talking about TCO when that has been the argument that Macintosh users have been using for years for why one should use a Mac over a Wintel box.

    The Gartner Group and other researchers consistantly have confirmed such, but most do not listen. We'll see if MS's huge PR engines will have better luck.
  • by CondeZer0 ( 158969 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @01:13AM (#3899744) Homepage
    Wow, I just took a look at the top three items of the Win2k/Linux comparisons, and it's really good FUD:

    Linux:

    - No support for SSO, thus requiring end users to use at least two logon names and passwordsone for Windows and one for Linux/UNIX.
    What? Have you ever heard about OpenLDAP? Kerberos? Samba? even NIS allows you to do that!

    - Support for CIFS but only via Samba, not as an integrated, tested solution.
    Not integrated and tested by who?? HP, NEC, SGI, IBM, Apple... all them sell Samba based solutions. I'm quite sure that Samba implementation of CIFS is way betters than MS's, well known for being broken and quite buggy...(on purpose maybe?)

    - [...]it is questionable whether commercial Linux vendors will be around to provide support in the long term, [...]
    <sarcasm>Yea, I'm sure IBM, HP, Sun, Dell, Intel, and SGI will all go out of business next week... and then, I will not be able to contact any other linux Company, that will not have access to the src, and will not be able to provide support for my uber-closed Linux systems</sarcasm>



    Win2k:

    - Integrated support for Windows NT®, FTP, HTTP, Appletalk, and Novell environments, which enables consolidated administration in heterogeneous networks. Wow! They have "integrated support" for FTP and HTTP!!! OMG!
    And you only need to patch it every 5min!
    <sarcasm>I doubt that any OSS operating system will ever match that level of astounding functionality</sarcasm>
    Not to mention that MS ftpd is one of the worst ftp implementations I have ever seen.
    BTW, have you every tried to get Appletalk working on Win2k? I had to do it once, I would prefer to burn in hell for the rest of eternity than having to do it again...

    I will not bother with the rest of the list... but it's funny how people can bluntly lie like this and get away with it... *sigh*

    Enough time wasted with this, I'm going back to work with my "inferior" OS, that saves my company loads of money, not to mention headaches... thanks God that I have a smart boss(hi Carl!) that isn't fooled by shit like this...

    \\Uriel
    • BTW, have you every tried to get Appletalk working on Win2k? I had to do it once, I would prefer to burn in hell for the rest of eternity than having to do it again...

      Um, sir, there is a "Lucifer" on line one. He wants to talk to you about the afterlife.... He said something about an "eternal and unending task" and "Appletalk," followed by some maniacal laughter.
    • No support for SSO, thus requiring end users to use at least two logon names and passwordsone for Windows and one for Linux/UNIX.

      What? Have you ever heard about OpenLDAP? Kerberos? Samba? even NIS allows you to do that!

      Single Sign On isn't quite the same as a centralised authentication database. An organised Linux distribution could probably achieve SSO using PAM and ssh-agent, but I don't think any of them have tried yet.

  • by aibrahim ( 59031 ) <slashmail.zenera@com> on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @01:21AM (#3899760) Homepage Journal
    I am not going to go through every point MSFT has on that page, but what I hope to show is that they are not changing their strategy, just their tactics to carry out the strategy.

    It used to be that MSFT FUD was a set of bald faced lies, apparently the hope was that no one would check them out at all. Well people did, found out they were lies and went to Linux.

    All of the new MSFT FUD is now more subtle, and appears to have supporting material in some cases. Now you can even check this stuff out, and if you are not very knowledgeable about software you can be fooled.

    Point 1

    Sum up as "Linux/Samba is not really compatible with Windows networking."

    In fact Linux, and Samba do support almost all features of CIFS. When Samba has been incompatible it is because MSFT changed their implementation. For this matter, Win95 and Win98 are incompatible with W2K CIFS networking.

    Point 2

    Sum up as "Linux is not fully compatible with Active Directory"

    True enough, but Linux is compatible to the extent that Active Directory is compatible with LDAP. In truth, MSFT is the one failing to comply with existing standards...neat how they twist this one around.

    Point 5

    Sum up as "IIS 5 is faster than Linux for SpecWeb99"

    This is just FUD. The link they point to seems to agree with their assertion but how about this link instead [spec.org]. It sure seems to tell a different story on identically configured hardware.

    Point 11

    Sum up as "Windows has reliable drivers that are signed by MSFT, Linux doesn't"

    Windows has NEVER had reliable drivers. Not all the best drivers are signed by MSFT if at all.

    The situation is only somewhat better than Windows for Linux to be fair. First off most drivers are delivered with an MD5 checksum, which is good enough for most uses. Secondly you get the source most of the time. Finally, since when has NASA written drivers for MSFT ? (Thanks to Don Becker, NASA GSFC.)

    Point 16

    My favorite..."The GPL is nasty and dangerous and can force you to give away all your secrets."

    First off the GPL is easy to understand, and very consistent. You get quite a lot for a simple price, "our changes to the code are to be made public with your codes binary release."

    MSFT has a problem with this because they are in the business of keeping code secret, not open sharing of ideas. Frankly that is OK, and can be a fair way to do business, despite what many OSS evangelists will tell you. What it fails to be however is an advantage to the consumer of the final product.

    • Give me a -1 if you will, but the parent deserves a better mention.
    • I got pissed after the first point. With PAM I have single signon via kerberos, LDAP, SMB or even a grep on a file if I wanted to. In fact that echoed what I saw over and over in their comparison.

      Linux has choices.

      It mentions that Linux has 5 different JFS's, whereas Windows has one. Well...how come everytime the NT server goes down it takes FOREVER to run autochk, but the Linux box with the untested JFS comes right back up?

      Over and over it was that Linux has choices and flexability, and where they couldn't find anything else, they would use "well...Linux doesn't have this Microsoft technology"

      I'd love to see a page done like this with the same amount of FUD written from the Linux PoV. Almost every item would have to include "Microsoft does not give you a choice" or "All the choices are additional purchases from third party vendors"
  • "We've all known Linux has got Microsoft all worried, but they've always denied it.

    One of the many reasons why M$ has been so successful over the years is because they are paranoid. Any company that seems remotely threatening, M$ will either acquire, destroy, or spread FUD. I bet Linux was on their radar long before the ween memo.

  • Yikes!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ebbe11 ( 121118 )
    Could it be that Linux is becoming a target for MS' "embrace and extend" tactics? Such as happened to Kerberos? [salon.com]
    And to really get the rumour mill rolling: Is this why Microsoft has reserved a booth at LinuxWorld Expo? [slashdot.org]
  • by sydsavage ( 453743 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @01:54AM (#3899848)
    You do realize that MS will be releasing their fourth quarter and year end financial statements on Thursday? And also that they have a settlement with the SEC [sec.gov] in which they have been ordered to cease and desist "cookie jar" accounting practices?

    Look at these quotes from the story:

    Ballmer also spoke about the technology sector as a whole, noting that
    the past year has been one of the toughest in recent history. Still, he says he's optimistic.

    "So despite the fact that it's been a tough year, I think about it exactly as that--a tough year, not the start of a cold winter. My optimism and enthusiasm about where we are going has been unabated."

    "Some of that change I argue will be net positive over the long run, and some of that change has certainly been troublesome over the course of the last 12 months," he said.

    Perhaps now that they can't prop up their financial statements, they are trying to spin it by saying "we were trying to compete on price with something our competition gives away for free." Where have I heard that before? Let me see, oh yes, during the anti-trust trial, I believe, from that other browser maker.

    The recent statements about it being Apple's fault they haven't sold half as many versions of Office v.X as they had projected could also play into this strategy. "We would have made our quarterly projections, if Apple would have just advertised OS X more!"

  • Worrying (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theolein ( 316044 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @02:16AM (#3899891) Journal
    As someone on the varbusiness site noted, Microsoft is *NEVER* friendly nor admits to FUD or mistakes *UNLESS* they are preparing some sort of new attack on their competition. I would watch that space for upcoming announcements with regard to new Microsoft licencing restrictions (Trying to make it illegal to use Win on the same computer as Linux??) or something else.
  • Translation: "We can't compete, so we're going to try to exclude."

    or: "You're too good. Now get the hell off my dad's polo field!"

  • by Mustang Matt ( 133426 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @02:49AM (#3899961)
    You know, for all the crap we give Bill. I bet he would actually be pretty interesting to meet. I mean it's HIM and not us (or our parents) that made a fortune selling products that the general consumer jumped all over.

    I wonder if he reads this site on a daily basis just like the rest of us. I've heard people say he's not that great of a programmer, but I bet he still knows his stuff.

    For all we know, he could very well secretly have linux boxes that he plays around on.

    In the end, I believe that Microsoft will use some BSD variant similar to what Macintosh has done... I mean, they copied before and it worked... Why not follow the same philosophy again?

    IF they did do that... I bet slowly and surely, a WHOLE LOT of people on this site would start to reconsider windows. Not to mention the corporate world.
    • by fw3 ( 523647 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @04:43AM (#3900167) Homepage Journal
      he would actually be pretty interesting to meet ...but I bet he [B Gates] still knows his stuff.

      Trying not to drop into an ad-hominem cheapshot

      The last project that I know of which Gates authored was a ROM Basic. The Basic interpreters which followed for various early microcomputers were written by his assciates at MSFT. Of course whether or not Bill still writes code I have no actual knowlege, but nothing I've read from MSFT suggests that he acts in any capacity but architect / vision-leader.

      I think this 'aura' of a brilliant coder plus his wealth is exactly the primary MSFT strategic advantage. I know dozens of lawyers, MBA's, executives who seem to beleive the following:

      This guy (company) is fabuloulsy successful so their product must be just wonderful
      and:
      He's this really brilliant programmer / geek and that's the basis of it all

      And because these folks haven't got a tech background they're basically taking it on faith. honestly it's insidious, I've seen an entire company (very big one) in a different business say 'wow that's great, lets emulate it ... ohh and yes lets also go with MS in the Data Center! [doh!]. (They fired an MIS director and then a CIO who couldn't make this fine strategy actually work in practice.)

      Now what *is* true about Bill (IMO) is that he's really bright (and that his early commercial coding was largely in either assembler or on DEC PDP / Vaxen used for emulation of 8080/z90/x86 systems). Where to my knowlege he applies this is strategy and architecture, and if I don't like his choices, I'm the first to admit they've been effective (if underhanded and illegal) in the market.

      Second, for 2 decades MSFT aggressively hired the very best and brightest CS grads. A freind who teaches in one of the better university CS departments observed this and on that basis only started investing in MSFT. That was a very good investment strategy for him :-).

      Today I think even the financial types are beginning to realize that some of this is smoke & mirrors. I think the combination of unreasonable licensing changes and the slap on the wrist they just got from SEC are just the sort of thing that these people pay attention to.

      Microsoft has always been brought more or less kicking and screaming into standard technologies. netbui vs tcp/ip; WINS vs DNS; NT Domains vs Kerberos|LDAP. Often they have implemented open technology (DCE) in the internals, just not making these the preferred API's.

      Of course the whole time I and other opensource types have been looking on and saying *yikes* you want to put this cruft in an enterprise??! MSFT is highly feature driven and lusers love features. Nowhere near enough coders (or architects) work to the priciple that the least code that will do the job is usually the best solution.

      Througout, Gates has pushed Basic as the language of choice [shrug]. Gates I don't really want to meet, his original partner Paul Allen, also a billionaire who has said "Blame me for having to type the backslash" ... he doesn't want to meet me in an alley :-)

      I will say that I'm glad Gates is focussing on technology again. .NET has promise, and the mono initiative will make it open. His foundation is also giving big money in important areas of medical research and he cares about the right stuff, (e.g. HIV/AIDS).

    • Woah a minute there cowboy... reading Billy's autobiography and books does NOT make for truth and an idea as to who and what the man is.

      Falshood #1 - Gates is a genius programmer...
      Gates SUCKED at programming... the absolute best thing to ever happened to him was the leaking of his basic sourcecode so that it was fixed by real programmers (Free and open programmers) that submitted the fixes back to him.
      Gates is NOT a genius programmer, he used many geniuses and good programmers to get the job done.

      Falsehood #2 - Gates is a visionary.. He has yet to come up with one origional idea that changed the world. Everything Gates did was based on other's ideas that he bought and rebranded/took credit for or he blatently stole. He is a visionary when it comes to making money and seeing that idea X will make billions...

      Gates is a Genius businessman and Social engineer. not everyone can get customers to believe and happily accept horrible terms / contracts... He is a genius that every CEO and CFO look up to and hope to achieve... Not everyone can screw all their customers and have the customers come back happy... Gates is excellent at that.
  • Comments on the FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crucini ( 98210 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @03:31AM (#3900050)
    Here's what struck me on a first read through the FUD page [microsoft.com]:
    ZDNet also noted that Red Hats High Availability Server also "lacks content replication support", a critical feature for Web server appliances in Web farms.
    What are they talking about? The only web server appliances I've seen are Cobalt Cubes and Raqs, which are used by the tiniest, least sophisticated web sites. While the hosting provider frequently has a large number of these (a "farm"?) they are not serving the same content. Is there any place in which "content replication" and "web appliance" coincide? In my (limited) experience, anyone with enough web servers to care about "content replication" is using either ordinary PC's or Suns. In any event, "content replication" is easily handled with rsync.
    Elsewhere in the document I found the phrase integrated application integration. I can only conclude that the author has gorged himself on buzzwords and succumbed to FUD poisoning.
    Linux offers no reliability framework to enhance system reliability.
    Would it be unfair in this context for me to report what happened when I tried to post a comment to the varbusiness story [varbusiness.com]? I got:
    Response object

    error 'ASP 0158 : 80004005'

    Missing URL /Components/Talkback/posttalkback.asp, line 84

    A URL is required.
    If your car has major structural flaws due to faulty engineering and shoddy workmanship, would you weld a "reliability framework" of 2" pipe around it? Or just get rid of it?
    Then we return to Microsoft's phobia of GPL virality:
    An NVIDIA programmer, in the course of developing a driver for one of its products, used a portion of code from a freely available video driver. The developer failed to realize the code was licensed under the GPL and would therefore require NVIDIA to release the source code for its entire driver. Because NVIDIA did not want to release the source code to its commercial software, the company incurred substantial cost to develop a new driver that did not contain the GPL code.
    Implication: if the accidentally included code belonged to Microsoft, NVIDIA would have been allowed to incorporate it for free, and would not have "incurred substantial cost". I doubt that. Anyhow, this whining about "substantial cost" implies that the owners of the (non)plagiarized code somehow victimized NVIDIA. This is like saying that since you wouldn't lend me your car for my upcoming vacation, I "incurred substantial cost" renting one.
    Linux uses clear text for authentication, does not allow the configurations of individual permissions to the file level and does native support standard encryption technologies such as Kerberos version 5.0.
    1. Linux supports many kinds of authentication via PAM. The only uses of clear text authentication I can think of are telnet, ftp and r*. Any OS supporting these legacy protocols must necessarily allow clear text authentication.
    2. I think the complaint about "configurations of individual permissions" refers to some additional refinement of permissions in Windows. In reality, the Unix permissions scheme adapts fairly well to real-world issues, providing good security without too much inconvenience. The Windows permission scheme, in contrast, appears over-complicated, poorly understood by Windows admins, and frequently ignored/bypassed.
    3. Any encryption natively supported by Windows, except for the simplest symmetric cipher implementations, is highly suspect. Not being subject to peer review, it could contain accidental or deliberate weaknesses that reduce the entropy of keys of leak portions of key material. It is well known that the NSA puts pressure on commercial vendors to introduce back doors - they did so with Crypto AG and Gretag.
    I'm not sure the FUD-filled utterances of Microsoft deserve this level of scrutiny. They are aiming for that narrow group of "appliance" OEM's who are so lacking in skills and self-confidence that they might cave and pay Microsoft for protection.
    • by matman ( 71405 )
      There's always acl.bestbits.at for Linux ACL support. Also, RSBAC (rsbac.org) patches allow Linux to support more fine grained and advanced authorization mechanisms than Windows does.
  • by Jesus IS the Devil ( 317662 ) on Wednesday July 17, 2002 @05:06AM (#3900199)
    M$ knows the government is watching them. They know that any one of these days they can REALLY be split up.

    What would you do if your company were in such a situation?

    I'll tell you what I'd do. I'd purposely let my competitors gain a bit of market share, but keep them in check at all times. I'd invest in Apple so they don't go kapoof. I'd play up Linux as a competitor just so "they" think M$ isn't really a monopoly any longer.

    Don't fall for this people. Not saying that it's happening, but be on the lookout.

    Now for my second point:

    M$ has a concentrated effort to kill their competitors, but Linux doesn't. When's the last time Linux embraced and extended a protocol to mess with M$'s implementation? Like never. And when was the last time M$ changed a standard and broke Linux compatibility? **cough**Samba**cough**

    Until there's a concentrated effor on behalf of the Linux community to mess with M$ in return, this competition isn't really anything they're afraid of.

    Let's just say a day comes when Linux gains so much market share that M$ really starts feeling the heat? What can they do? They can make their own version of Linux and "extend" it till they kidnap it all to themselves. And this would only occur "IF" (and that's a big IF) Linux ever gains THAT much market share.

"Regardless of the legal speed limit, your Buick must be operated at speeds faster than 85 MPH (140kph)." -- 1987 Buick Grand National owners manual.

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