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Meet Martin Taylor Of Microsoft's Open Source Test Lab 427

securitas writes "Martin Taylor was recently appointed as Microsoft's open source and Linux strategist and is responsible for Microsoft's open source and Linux test lab, mentioned on Slashdot last week. Taylor says his goal is to change Microsoft's competitive strategy by pursuing a fact-based approach instead of continuing the previous discredit-and-undermine strategy that was characterized by calling open source and Linux software 'a cancer, un-American and bankrupt' among other things. Taylor says he plans to focus on (and fund) studies that 'will highlight Microsoft's advantages in areas such as security, feature-completeness and total cost of ownership.'"
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Meet Martin Taylor Of Microsoft's Open Source Test Lab

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  • by gokubi ( 413425 ) * on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:45PM (#6620900) Homepage
    Fact-based UNIX Debunking. Why confuse the argument by trying to have it match reality?
  • by numbski ( 515011 ) * <> on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:47PM (#6620922) Homepage Journal
    "You can't ever take it and use it in a job creating activity."

    But Bill!!!!!

    If not for FreeBSD (could be Linux if I wanted it to be) I'd be unemployed right now! I won't put Windows in my data center unless my boss twists my arm (which he has done once because a customer DEMANDED IIS).

    BTW, FreeBSD and MacOS X rock. I use Linux from time to time, but something about BSD just sits more correctly with me for some reason...feh, bring on the holy war. ;P
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:47PM (#6620923)
    Martin Taylor is actually a revolutionary new AI developed by Microsoft. He'll be a part of Windows 2005 if everything goes smoothly. Think of him as Microsoft Bob's grandson.
  • The biggest 'fact' is that Microsoft is a big company that has the resources to actually pursue this kind of 'fact finding' mission.

    No Linux company is in any position to set up a Windows lab to discover the relative merits of Linux in opposition to Windows. Luckily, the OSS fans are willing to gobble gobble up any anti-MS FUD available.

    Not so with MS 'fans'.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Not so with MS 'fans'.

      No kidding. Those MS fanboys refuse to gobble up any anti-MS FUD. What's up with that?


    • by Derkec ( 463377 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:13PM (#6621196)
      I disagree. I think that IBM (who is credited with getting Linux a green light from Homeland Defense) has plenty of money to setup a fact finding group for Linux. I know you may hate to think of Big Blue as a "Linux company" but they have pretty much bet their server business on it.
      • As someone said here before on /., I think of Big Blue as a "Make Money" company. The current appetite seems to be penguin, but it wasn't always, and won't necesarily always be. Heck they're probably breeding their own penguins, giving out some nice fillet's to the people who gave them the original specimen, but would be willing to release their own penguin++ designed to devour all inferior beasts.

        Or maybe IBM is a huge collection of nice people who love everybody, and they're totally willing to share th
    • What are you talking about?

      MS fans not gobbling up any anti-Linux FUD?

      Do you know the number of times I've heard the phrase "Yeah, but the next Windows is gonna be so much better"? I remember when there was a crapload of hype around Windows 96 (Which eventually became Windows 98) just to find out it was exactly the same as Win95 except it had multiple monitor support and USB support. How nice. Two things Macs had for years.

      What next... encrypted telnet server capabilities? Oooooooooooo. Never seen that b
  • The "good cop, bad cop" strategy. Those guys are just too much...

    • The "good cop, bad cop" strategy.

      It's not so much good cop/bad cop as schizo cop:

      Taylor says his goal is to change Microsoft's competitive strategy by pursuing a fact-based approach ... to focus on ... areas such as security, feature-completeness and total cost of ownership.

  • by eddy ( 18759 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:48PM (#6620937) Homepage Journal

    I see into... the future... I see this "lab" only producing... whitepapers where Microsoft.... wins!

    Whoa. There's a surprise.

    • by mrpuffypants ( 444598 ) * <mrpuffypants&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:04PM (#6621110)
      That's be refreshing seeing a press release from MS that looked like:


      Today in a competitive test pitting the performance, TCO, and overall geek factors of Windows Server 2003 vs. Linux a final answer was reached: Linux is faster, better, cheaper, and geekier than Windows.

      Informed of the results that the Microsoft lab found, Bill Gates (Microsoft Founder and Chief Software Architect) remarked "Somebody ain't getting bonuses this year!"

      Commenting on the results Steve Ballmer (Microsoft CEO) said "We have seen the light. On January 1, 2004 all Microsoft products will be released under the GPL and fully open-sourced," her added, "in addition, we have voluntarly sold all of our business assets to OSDN and Red Hat collectively."

      Also announced was a plan to sink $10 Billion into a "Kill those Bastards SCO" Fund.

    • by nsample ( 261457 ) <<nsample> <at> <>> on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:14PM (#6621202) Homepage
      How could the parent get modded up as "insightful"?! At best, for the humor-challenged, it could be seen as a pretty meager attempt to secure "funny".

      Of course Microsoft will produce white papers that show Microsoft winning! Why would they possibly do otherwise? They're a *company*, not a *charity*. Besides, it should be seen as the highest form of flattery that Linux warrants so much of their time and energy. It means that Linux is at least making an impression.

      Maybe by taking Microsoft seriously for once, rather than spouting some glib "Microsoft is going to show themselves winning" tripe, you would see that these sorts of comparisons benefit Linux. Microsoft *may* be able to fudge a little, but direct, fact-based comparisons will put a spotlight on Linux failures. And give us some needed attention to boot.

      Guess how long it'll take take the Linux folks to solve any "problem" that Microsoft graciously points out? Not long. How is that a loss for Linux? Seems like it makes Linux stronger *exactly* where MS sees a temporary weakness.

      The parent does exactly what MS has learned doesn't work: relying on emotion and FUD. I wish there was a -1, uninsightful.
      • Re:Eddy the Prophet (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Thing 1 ( 178996 )

        Guess how long it'll take take the Linux folks to solve any "problem" that Microsoft graciously points out? Not long. How is that a loss for Linux? Seems like it makes Linux stronger *exactly* where MS sees a temporary weakness.

        Exactly. Just like that mindcraft "report" from a couple years ago, where they pointed out exactly where Linux was lacking compared to Microsoft -- and weeks later, Linux had taken the lead.

        Anything pointing out differences is really just asking for those differences to be f

    • by steve_stern ( 686745 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:21PM (#6621267) Homepage
      I see into... the future... I see this "lab" only producing... whitepapers where Microsoft.... wins!
      Maybe they should call it backslashdot, after its open source equivalent.
    • I Have a Nightmare (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The Monster ( 227884 )

      I see this "lab" only producing... whitepapers where Microsoft.... wins!

      In a roundabout way, sure. I expect MS to look VERY carefully at what Linux can do for them. They've already taken the BSD TCP stack....

      What's to keep them from pulling an Apple Maneuver and making a version of Windows that runs totally on top of a fork (containing serious DRM mods, naturally) of BSD? With Personality Modules that let you run Classic Windows programs (and device drivers? A better WINE than WINE?) as well as p

    • And conveniently now the "official" TCO for linux is $699 higher per CPU, which makes the whitepapers sway easier into MSFT's favor (considering only monetary cost factors, of course).

      In all likelihood, this lab will be one of the first, and probably one of the only, places to purchase the SCO linux licenses.

  • Whats this? (Score:3, Funny)

    by tarquin_fim_bim ( 649994 ) * on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:48PM (#6620938)
    "by focusing on 'just the facts.'"
    invalid code page error

    "by focusing on 'just the facts.'"
    invalid code page error

    "by focusing on 'just the facts.'"
    invalid code page error

    "by focusing on 'just the facts.'"
    invalid code page error

    Please contact your harware vendor.
  • by Tofino ( 628530 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:49PM (#6620952)
    0 posts visible at a mere +2. 26 replies beneath your current threshold. Behold the power of Microsoft.
  • In All Respect... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyPantsAreOnFire! ( 642687 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:50PM (#6620959)
    this is what they should have done in the first place. The best way to win customers is to earn them -- show them that your product is better than the competition. You'd think, with billions of dollars, a standing army of support personnel, and a solid customer base, they'd focus on making their products better and more reliable rather than trying to push their monopoly around. I hope some excellent upgrades and fixes to MS software come out of this.
    • Many Fronts (Score:5, Interesting)

      by spruce ( 454842 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:30PM (#6621328) Journal
      I agree, except I'd expect Microsoft to deal with Linux on a couple of different fronts. I mean, what company out there uses the totally honest approach? Everybody does what is in their power to keep customers.

      Early on they could deal with Linux via FUD (although I'd argue there was a good deal of FUD flung from both sides.) Now they are going to start investigating other methods, heck maybe down the line offer Office for Linux? Who really knows? Would it kill Microsoft to offer a version of Linux, as well as keep the Windows platform if the future requires it? I mean, say Linux grabs 20-30% of the market. Microsoft is extremely big and powerful company with a lot of smart people and could offer a good distribution. So they'd have to decide between their ego and their bank account.

      Microsoft has always been able to deal with changes in the market, and this is one of them. How fast they change depends on adoption of Linux.

      I'd also say the MS platform has been moving along well - .NET, Server 2003 seem to steps in the right direction. Linux probably hasn't hurt this effort.

      Of course, maybe this is all a dream and they'll never touch linux. The future is exciting!
      • Very True -- this kind of action is unlike them, which is probably more of a sign of trickery than actual progress. If releasing a press statement that says they're studying linux to make their own stuff better and hang a "linux research" sign on the broom closet, I wouldn't be shocked.

        It's also very unlike them to show (valuable) source code. If they did release their own flavor of linux, they'd have to show the source *And* they'd be in competition with themselves. I have a distinct feeling that they'
  • by Scorpion265 ( 650012 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:50PM (#6620962)
    I find it funny that Microsoft is actualy going to attack linux by learning it. They still have a strangle hold on the market, I don't even understand why they're going after linux as a 'competator' but hey everyone wants to rule the world right?
    • but keep your enemies closer"

      "know thy enemy"

      "embrace and extend"

      if you can't beat em, learn what they do best, replicate, and make it yours.

      you do the math...

      They are smart cookies.
    • by Atario ( 673917 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @08:59PM (#6622022) Homepage
      You'd think that a gargantuan behemoth like MS would think "who cares about some snivelling little toy OS like Linux". But you'd be wrong. Remember, a young, nobody upstart (MS and DOS) shoved aside the top dog (DR and CP/M) not by being richer, or smarter, or faster, or better, but by being more alert. Gary Kildall was semi-unavailable and/or not that interested in talking with IBM, and Gates and Allen were very available and interested, and here we all are.

      MS sees this whole Bazaar/Cathedral thing and it makes sense -- faster updates, more solid code, thousands of eyes, etc. It's a lot of alertness (and is thus a threat), plus it's got that magic word: FREE. But the whole premise of Bill G's life is that software should not be free -- that was his major contribution to the old Homebrew Computer Club, where everyone freely traded/borrowed (??AAs would say "stole") software. Thus, MS's dilemma: how to beat someone at their own game, when their game is completely contrary to all the rules they live by.

      For further (this time, actually good) reading about MS and Linux, see this []. For another possible reason MS wants to get inside Linux's head, see this [] -- a.k.a. "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".
  • by madpierre ( 690297 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:50PM (#6620964) Homepage Journal
    If Martin Taylor the guitarist knows he's got
    an evil alter ego at MS?
  • by PeteyG ( 203921 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:50PM (#6620969) Homepage Journal
    Taylor says he plans to focus on (and fund) studies that 'will highlight Microsoft's advantages in areas such as security, feature-completeness and total cost of ownership.'

    So in other words, completely unbiased and perfectly objective studies that people can trust to give an accurate picture of Microsoft products.

    I mean, I don't necesarilly trust OSS-sympathetc studies... but that doesn't mean I'll swallow MS propaganda whole.
    • Taylor says he plans to focus on (and fund) studies that 'will highlight Microsoft's advantages in areas such as security, feature-completeness and total cost of ownership.'

      When you know what you want to find you are no longer researching, you are writing marketing paper. Research is when you compare things and try to understand them. This tool will be trying to prove things that everyone knows are bullshit. Microsoft security is not an advantage, it's an oxymoron. TCO and sanity are clearly in free so

  • A nice change (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tuxlove ( 316502 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:51PM (#6620972)
    Though I'm sure their "new approach" will still contain a fair measure of FUD, actually hearing factual arguments from MS will be a nice change of pace. I respect arguments based on fact, even if I disagree with them.
    • actually hearing factual arguments from MS will be a nice change of pace.

      Sure! Facts are great!

      "Well, Martin. We have a conclusion here. Your mission is to obtain findings which support this conclusion. By the way - you still report to Ballmer!"

  • Uh... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Joel Bruick ( 685266 )

    [...] highlight Microsoft's advantages in areas such as security [...]

    Microsoft's products surely have advantages over their open source counterparts, but security? Come on!

  • I have to mention... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by numbski ( 515011 ) * <> on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:52PM (#6620983) Homepage Journal
    That Microsoft telling the truth about security would pretty much boil down to: "Please, don't buy our product."

    Okay, enough M$ bashing. So what DOES Microsoft do right?

    Well, okay, they have developed a pretty reasonable method for getting patches and security fixes out the door. They do so for free (as in prostitutes) and though they could have completely shut out Apple's MS Office line, they continue to develop it.

    Apple and Red Hat both have competing systems to the Windows Update schema, and I have to say I like Apple's better. I haven't had much interaction with Red Hat's. Anyone?

    Open Office I'm really really really really hoping goes Quartz native soon, but according to this posting [] it's not likely do to API updates. *sigh*
    • Let's see. I'd say Microsoft telling the truth about security would be:

      ISO Common Criteria (CC) security certification for Windows: "Moderate to High" security
      ISO Common Criteria (CC) security certification for Linux: "Low to Moderate" security

      And Linux was only certified with one specific SuSE distro on specific IBM hardware. I'm guessing it isn't Microsoft who should be saying "Please, don't buy our product."

      We now leave facts behind and return you to the usual Microsoft bashing.
  • Taylor says he plans to focus on (and fund) studies that 'will highlight Microsoft's advantages in areas such as security, feature-completeness and total cost of ownership.'"

    Taylor is gonna have a pretty boring job...
    FUD was so much easier, now MS is actually going to have to try for a decent product.
  • Why not try to compete with linux? Instead of changing argument style, put a decent POSIX layer and lots of services in Windows by default. Create standards and provide complete reference implementations for multiple platforms. Why MS is losing market share to others is because of the competitive advantage other products have.
    • Don't FUD back at Microsoft, even though it's trendy on Slashdot. MS creates and implements a very large number of standards. They are on practically every technology standardization committee. They also include the most popular services - basically everything a normal person would want, probably more - and don't cripple them. The IIS you get with Win2k Pro is exactly the same as the one you get with Win2k AS, it's just licensed for fewer connections. (And you can just turn the slider up or down anyway
  • yeah...... OK

    It seems the strategy has changed from lying their asses off to being honest about lying their asses off.

    Are we supposed to accept them now and say it's OK to lie so long as you are honest about it, eventually?????

    Or is this "how to treat consumers like morons and get away with it"?
  • by Eberlin ( 570874 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:54PM (#6621010) Homepage
    Fact: XP runs faster than RH9.0
    Untold: the XP was running on a 3GHz P4 w/ 512MB and the RH9.0 was on a 400MHz P2 with 256MB of RAM

    Fact: MS OS'es have less bugs than Linux
    Untold: Because one bug in SSH counts at least 15 times -- once per distro.

    Fact: MS is more secure than Linux
    Untold: The MS box tested was fully patched, running NO services, was connected to an ISA firewall...and to no other computer. They'll also forget to mention that the machine wasn't turned on.

    Fact-based campaign. Will half-truths be considered facts?
  • by kylef ( 196302 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:55PM (#6621018)

    If you read the article, Open Source Initiative President Eric Raymond was the one who said that Microsoft's previous strategy was claiming Linux was a "cancer." Taylor never used those words and never suggested that was Microsoft's previous strategy, as the headline suggests.

    All Taylor admits is that previously Microsoft had defaulted to an "emotional" argument, and that now they are switching to a "fact-based" one, whatever that means.

    The only reason I'm correcting the submitter here is that it makes no sense to put words in people's mouth, even if you hate them. It is counter-productive to legitimate debate and argument.

    • by Vainglorious Coward ( 267452 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:18PM (#6621239) Journal
      Taylor may not have used the word "cancer", but Steve Ballmer certainly did, in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, June 2001. Unfortunately, I can't find the otiginal article on the CS-T website, but a quick google for "Ballmer Linux cancer" yields more than 200 hits, of which this [] is a typical sample.

      Ballmer said, "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."

      What was that you were saying about legitimate debate and argument?

  • 'will highlight Microsoft's advantages in areas such as security, feature-completeness and total cost of ownership.'"

    Coming from the security-hole-ridden IE/OE, and $299 for a copy of XP Microsoft? Those are Advantages?
  • by Megaslow ( 694447 ) * on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:56PM (#6621030) Homepage
    Taylor says he plans to focus on (and fund) studies that 'will highlight Microsoft's advantages in areas such as security

    Microsoft announced today that they are laying off a Mr. Marting Taylor, citing the fact that he had no work to do.
  • Taylor says he plans to focus on (and fund) studies that 'will highlight Microsoft's advantages in areas such as security, feature-completeness and total cost of ownership.'

    LOL, reading this I have to lough, it sounds like the Iraqi Information Minister just landed himself a new job!

    "The server has not been hacked! There are no hackers in the mainframe! The infidel hackers are dying right now from Linux viruses we have leashed upon them!"

    Does this mean, studies that don't highlight Microsoft's advantage
  • Good on them... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xyde ( 415798 ) <> on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:57PM (#6621044)
    I know I'll be marked down as a troll for praising MS, but I'm actually quite impressed with this.

    It's bloody hard to compete against free software and I'm actually amazed to see them try this approach instead of their usual media contamination methods.

    Of course, I don't hope they win as I think Windows stinks (you can pry my OS X from my cold, dead fingers) but kudos to them for playing fairly for once.

    • Re:Good on them... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sanga ( 125777 )
      This approach is in *ADDITION* to the already existing successful strategies. Whatever sales techniques exists, this one will be added to them. If all else fails with a hard nosed customer -- try to use a "fact-based" approach.
  • TCO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mjake ( 579791 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:58PM (#6621047)
    Gee, I wonder if their TCO study calculations will include the cost of worms and virii(?) that only affect Windows platforms/outlook/IE? Every time a new worm comes along I wonder if people realize the hidden TCO costs that sticking with MS incurs.
    • I'm trying to be subversive in letting people know about MS bugs. At the help desk I work at right now when somebody calls about this damn MiMail trojan going around I always tell them the following:

      "That email is a trojan horse which is exploiting insecure MICROSOFT programs, code, and servers. You can safely delete it. If you have opened it then please follow these instructions...."
    • Re:TCO (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bmajik ( 96670 )
      if the TCO analysis includes the time it takes to apply patches and hotfixes, then the issue of worms and viruses falls out of the picture (for MS) because there hasn't yet been a widespread worm that didn't have a pre-existing patch for it. Nimda, CodeRed, Slammer, etc, all had WU patches posted months before they hit.

      If the TCO were to have a section on # of relevant patches, time to apply them, and manual intervention involved, that would be interesting. I think that if you compared Windows Update and
  • Poor, poor Bill... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pjkundert ( 597719 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @06:59PM (#6621058) Homepage
    "The open source license is not open, because you can't take it and ever use it in a job-creating activity," Gates said.


    "The open source license is not open, becuase you can't take it and ever use it in a job-creating activity at Microsoft "

    One of the best features of open source, is its ability to melt away unnecessary expenditures of money on software not directly related to the business goals or your company. It is inconceivable that any right-headed CIO or CFO would spend penny one on a "Word Processor", for example. The ONLY company that this decision would hurt is Microsoft. A company frees up virtually 100% of their software dollars to hire real, local software developers to develop solutions to their own, personal, business problems.

    • by Soko ( 17987 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:45PM (#6621453) Homepage

      I recently got a development contract with this exact argument.

      My customer is getting a fully tailored, customised solution to thier problem - a solution based totally on open source technologies. (Nice Linux server, PostgresSQL, etc.) To boot, all of that custom work came in at a price significantly less than anyone else who bid for the job. Significantly less.

      I get a very nice paycheck, once it's done. Should be more on the way, too, since I get to re-sell the solution and customise it for other customers. And support contracts if the customer so chooses, will supplement my income, too. (BTW, they don't need to pick me for support, since they have the code, and that code is based on known OSS tools, etc. Certainly makes one pay attention to customer service.)

      Microsoft got squat. Well, this time, anyway. I might need to throw Bill & Co. the odd scrap (if the customer gets new desktop machines, for example, and insists on XP) down the road, but that depends wholly on the customer. They can use Windows if they want, but they sure don't need Windows. Customers seem to like that.

  • by laird ( 2705 ) < minus math_god> on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:05PM (#6621118) Journal
    I know quite a few Microsoft people who are quite knowledgable about Linux and open source software (some of whom contribute to open source projects in their spare time, etc), who are quite capable of rational discussion on the topic of open vs. closed source, and why it's good for customers to use MS products. If MS starts attacking open source software on rational grounds, they certainly have the resources to do so effectively. And in the world of technology, such an approach might be more successful than their emotion-based attacks.

    After all, it's been fairly easy for open source advocates to discredit Microsoft's initial relatively incoherent ramblings; "cancer" and "communism" type name calling did more to discredit MS than their opponents. So while MS' FUD attacks were dangerous because there was a lot of money/press behind them, they were ultimately unproductive.

    If MS can make a solid, businesslike case that MS soutions are better than open source that's likely to carry more weight. Imagine, for example, if there were a credible, objective study that showed that (to make up a hypothetical scenario) the total TCO for Windows 2003 as measured in production is lower than Linux, or the application development costs are lower using Windows and the associated frameworks, that'll at least allow them to retain current corporate customers, and perhaps even go back to growing enterprise marketshare.

    I think that even though MS competing more effectively makes everyone's else's lives harder, ultimately a shift towards civilized debate is good for the industry. In business settings, Open Source must be able to win on objective, pragmatic merits, not just on principles. Winning on both principles and pragmatics makes open source unstoppable. If the competition reveals weak points in the open source arguments, that's _good_ because that means that they can be addressed, and everyone wins.
    • by MichaelCrawford ( 610140 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:44PM (#6621447) Homepage Journal
      I don't have a link, but I remember that sometime back during the 2.3 development, Microsoft funded a study that compared the performance of Windows 2000 with Linux 2.2 when they were run on multiple processor machines, I think enterprise class 8-cpu boxes.

      Linux didn't do that well in the comparison.

      So what did the kernel developers do? Did they give up? Did they all mail their resumes to Redmond? No, they improved the SMP performance of the kernel, so that by the time 2.4 shipped, it could beat Windows 2000 - and I imagine XP now too - in similar benchmarks.

      I don't doubt that Microsoft is going to find lots of things that Windows does better than Linux does. That will serve as a guide, to help the Free Software community set their priorities as to which problems to focus on first.

    • " Imagine, for example, if there were a credible, objective study that showed that (to make up a hypothetical scenario) the total TCO for Windows 2003 as measured in production is lower than Linux, "

      I really don't think anybody would believe them. MS has lied so many times, paid for so many bogus benchmarks and "studies", bribed so many "think tanks" and politicians that nobody believes them anymore.

      Bill Gates could say that the sky was blue and I would not believe him.

      You know the old saying. Fool me on
    • by Sevn ( 12012 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @08:02PM (#6621587) Homepage Journal
      Microsoft is going to have to start establishing a long term track record of having rational discussions and doing things right. At this point, most people associate Microsoft with that company that wrote the thing they use at work the reboots on them and gets slow. They MIGHT have heard about how they were judged a monopoly. Go a little higher to the technical manager level, and they might know about a few of the highly embarassing things that have happened to Microsoft like the lawsuits or the navy ship getting towed back to shore that was running NT, etc. The prevailing attitude has been:

      "We have to like it. It's the only choice".

      Or for the more hardcore fans,

      "we have to love it and defend it because they have all the money and power and I always side with the winner because that's all I know to do. I am afraid of change".

      And even though that gets them what they want in the end, market domination, not many people actually take them seriously. I can remember being at a coffee shop recently and 3 older, more mature looking suits were joking about how Microsoft was getting "more secure" and remarking on a outlook trojan problem they were having currently. Nobody buys it. They just have accepted that they have no choice. That's why a effort like this, no matter how much money they throw behind it, won't convince too many people. It will create some really great boilerplate for the zealots to recite. That's about it. They are going to have to actually make their products better and actually work very hard to clean up their public image before anybody takes anything like this seriously. Just look at the general body of the responses to this article already! If Linus submitted a story saying he was going to do some sort of security audit, he would pretty much universally be taken seriously. You'll never have that with Microsoft given the reputation they have forged for themselves. Windows Server 2003 is a good step in the RIGHT direction for once. It's the smartest thing they've done to DATE to combat Linux in any way. Why? They actually listened to what their customers wanted, and sorta did it instead of doing what THEY deemed right and push it on everyone. It actually looks to be a decent product. But, it doesn't help that Oracle put out their July/August 2003 magazine and there is a HUGE Penguin on the front cover. Pages 46-62 can be summed up like this:

      "Get redhat and a dell and oracle9 or you are stupid."

      They might as well have said:

      "SCO is completely batshit. This is what you want to do now".

      And they basically came out and said

      "Federal Aviation Air Traffic and Control, as well as these hospitals are now running Oracle on Redhat on HP and Dell servers. We are now meeting the holy grail of reliability with Linux. You can trust it with your life, and the lives of your loved ones".

      The message is pretty clear for any CIO or manager type that I've shown this issue to. With the momentum behind Linux at the moment, I don't see Microsoft being able to do much of anything to lower their TCO in time. Every time a CIO, CEO, VP, etc. hears about all the money Amazon have saved, They want some of that luvin.
  • by sacrilicious ( 316896 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:06PM (#6621119) Homepage
    Taylor says he plans to focus on (and fund) studies that 'will highlight Microsoft's advantages in areas such as security, feature-completeness and total cost of ownership.'

    And I thought MY job sucked. ;)

  • ...'will highlight Microsoft's advantages in areas such as security, feature-completeness and total cost of ownership.'

    Today must be opposite day. ;)

    I can highlight the advantages of open source over closed source on all of those points. Funny thing about TCO, though. When it gets calculated, you can sometimes just assign abitrary numbers to skew your results.

    "Hmm, our outsourcing company charges $50 an hour. But that other company across town that we never use charges $150 an hour for lower quali

  • by the company one keeps.

    Working for Microsoft's FUD squad ranks somewhere between selling crack to school children and the SCO management team.

    In case you're wondering, the crack dealer is the more respectable of the three.

  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:09PM (#6621150) Homepage
    subject asks it all.
  • MSFT's stock price performance since the beginning of this year, where it has badly underperformed its peers, is very telling. The market senses the worm is turning, MSFT has acknowledged the threat, and now they are beginning to take it seriously. But the more attention they give to opensource competition the more publicity they give it. That's the beauty of the OS model, MSFT marketing dollars go to raise the OS profile.
  • They are going to hire McBride and Boise to legally harras any media outlet until their pr is stated as fact?
  • by earthforce_1 ( 454968 ) <earthforce_1@[ ] ['yah' in gap]> on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:15PM (#6621211) Journal
    This could be a good thing - it gives open source developers a change to observe and plug any weaknesses. While MS examines and reports on the weaknesses of OS solutions, take note and don't get angry - get coding!

  • I really hope Taylor is serious and I really hope that Microsoft does produce some REAL facts easily backed up and replicated which do indeed show some areas of superiority over OS for their products.

    Then all the anit-MS bigots (and I am one of them) and OS-developers will have a worthy goal to shoot for - something concrete to "improve" upon - rather than just bemoaning Microsoft's evils.

    And perhaps in the meantime I will be soothed to learn that Windows ME isn't the pile of shit I've come to think of it
  • by EckRhino ( 531480 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:28PM (#6621315)
    The back of my old Linux Hardware Solutions t-shirt has the following quote from Ghandi next to the penguin:

    First they ignore you,
    Then they laugh at you,
    Then they fight you,
    Then you win.

    I'd say Microsoft has now reached the third line regarding Linux. This is a good sign.
  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:40PM (#6621406)
    Fact was a nice word, I'll miss it. But no matter, we still have the teeshirt:

    Front side

    picture: Iraqi minister of communications
    caption: "there are no Americans in Iraq"

    Back side

    picture: his Billness
    caption: "there are no bugs in Microsoft software"

  • by Popsikle ( 661384 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @07:46PM (#6621455) Homepage
    Honestly, and flame me if you will (/. comments have always been themed with "down with microsoft") but this sort of stuff is what my boss looks at. And his boss looks at. But here is my take.

    "Will highlight Microsoft's advantages in areas such as security, feature-completeness and total cost of ownership."

    No OS (Linux, Unix, BSD, Windows, ect) is secure by default. There are always exploits and holes. Yes MS has a bigger % of security incidents then other OS's because its used more. There are other reasons but take into the consideration that the more people that use software, the more bugs and holes will be found. Im not saying Microsoft is anywhere near secure out of the box as *nix is (because that would ludicrios) but they DO fix thier holes, which is really want counts isnt it?

    Many of us think about MS OFfice, and Windows to be overloaded with features that we will never use. There is alot of junk there, but at some point someone had asked for that junk. I could see MS giving themselves a pretty high rating for this.

    How easy is it to install and configure a MS server, how many more people are trained to do it? How many more MCSE's are there than Red Hat Certified people? I have seen them use this tatic before; The OS may be free, but whats it costing you to keep a person that is Linux qualified versus the people you already have that are MS qualified.

    The whitepaper's that come out of this may be enough for my boss (or his boss) to stick with his windows 2000 running cold fusion when I am just starting to warm his feet in the linux world.

    Bash MS all you want but they DO have a way of looking good in the executives eyes. Not to mention there is no centeral place to get TCO information on Linux. Yes, you can go to or any of the other distros and get thier TCO report but all of thier numbers are different. This makes it confusing for bosses everywhere, is trusted to them, they will see as the numbers that are most likley true, then where will linux be?
  • This is good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bruha ( 412869 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @08:30PM (#6621802) Homepage Journal

    Linux: Secure from the get go.

    Windows: Secure depending on which set of patches you've applied today. And depending on what exploits Microsoft has admitted to and are willing to fix.

    Feature Complete

    Linux: New things every day and there's diversity so you can get a system styled to you. Though there are still a few sticky issues such as out of the box home usability such as dvd playback and games.

    Windows: Asorbs features of other companies and puts them out of business. Takes standards and makes their own standard, deploys it to all their OS systems thus forcing those who learned the standard to use the MS version of the standard and killing off the interoperability.. *cough* HTML *cough*

    Even Windows does not have out of the box usability. It cant play DvD's out of the box though MP 9 might do it. Games... well refer to the above paragraph they've taken over the gaming world with DirectX thus stifiling out any hopes of most games working on Mac or Linux OS's

    TCO good one.

    There are several schools of thought.. however for stock deployments to a business who need these things..

    Common Desktop, Mail, Web, and Exchange then your TCO is the cost of what you pay Linux Admins to get it all setup. Plus a per machine cost if you decide on corporate versions which even then are not some crazy license requirements and have good support and updates.. SuSE and RedHat have both made great strides in this sector.. MS on the other hand have techies you have to wade through with the common customer says this, you look in the idiot book and tell customer this.

    Microsoft: is quick to point out that it costs more in the long run but that's only when you get into the world of custom application programming which you may or may not have to do with Windows. How many people will finally have to dump legacy 16 bit apps for Windows when Longhorn shows up? Many of those customers will either 1 port to 64bit Linux or 32bit.. or just stick with what they have on Windows and only use the latest OS where it's required. I know many companies who've finally dumped their DOS programs re-written them into Linux compatible code and went that route. Others are still sticking to what they have until it completely falls off teh companies backs.

    I'd type more but it's time to toss the pizza into the oven!
  • Logical fallacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by leandrod ( 17766 ) <`l' `at' `'> on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @08:49PM (#6621957) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft's advantages in areas such as security, feature-completeness and total cost of ownership

    This is typical arguing from the conclusions. They already know what they want to find; now it is just a matter of crafting the studies that will find exactly that, not the reality.

    But why be serious?

    Microsoft's advantages in [...] security

    Like being so incredibly complex no one can properly manage permissions, hiding information so no one can actually understand what's going on, and making it nearly impossible to log stuff? Not to mention hiding source code so it can't possibly be audited? Now, that's security for me...

    Microsoft's advantages in [...] feature-completeness

    Like there will be a Microsoft Debian distribution with everything and the kitchen sink installable from CDs or network servers, following a coherent policy? Wow... can't wait for that... will take too long!

    Microsoft's advantages in [...] total cost of ownership

    Like no more incredibly expensive MSCE that cost even more by always choosing the most inefficient solution? No more incredibly complex, expensive licensing that charges double for Terminal Server usage? Suddenly MS SysAdmins will be as efficient as their Unix counterparts? Toto, we're not in Kansas...

  • The way for Microsoft to compete with Linux is for Microsoft to stop being adversarial toward its customers.

    For example, Windows XP has a crippled file system that cannot copy some of its own files. The purpose of the crippling is apparently to prevent copying. So, customers have to use third-party tools that often don't work well to make full backups of the boot partition. Because some people are pirates, Microsoft has chosen to treat every customer as a criminal. This causes customer a lot of lost time. When the backup tools don't work well, it causes customers grief.

    The last time I mentioned this particular adversarial behavior toward customers, someone posted a comment saying it was not true, the Windows XP file system CAN copy all of its own files. However, Microsoft employees have often said that it is true. Sometimes Microsoft employees even suggest one of the third-party tools.

    Microsoft recently declared that operating systems have a very limited lifetime, and that Windows 98 is dead. Windows 98 is the most commonly used operating system in the world! Now all of those hundreds of millions of people must suffer. Apparently Microsoft wants to force people to upgrade to Windows XP. However, many of those customers have computers that are not powerful enough to support Windows XP. Anything for money is the philosophy at Microsoft, I guess. If Bill Gates wanted to be truly philanthropic, he would make a good operating system and support it well.

    These are not isolated circumstances. There are many ways that Microsoft is adversarial toward its customers. Bill Gates is the Chief of Grief.

    But hey, Open Source is not always positive toward its customers. I reported a but in Mozilla on a Sunday at 8 AM, and got a message at about 10 AM saying they doubted that the problem was a fault in Mozilla. I asked for a new feature in another program, but the developer said it would have to wait until the next major version. So, open source developers are not angels; some of them are however, about the best people you will find on earth.
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Tuesday August 05, 2003 @10:11PM (#6622424) Homepage Journal
    takes out small pad of paper.
    writes "Martin Taylor -- EoL".

    now your on my list. ;)

    EoL = "Enemy of Linux"
  • by salesgeek ( 263995 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @01:27AM (#6623430) Homepage
    I am getting really sick of surveys and studies that start with the answer, then search for the question. How about doing some unbiased research, then after studying the results, announcing the results and maybe inferring a conclusion or two?

    I wish the press just wouldn't cover these kinds of publicity stunts. Next week: Gartner advises world to buy Microsoft because of results of microsoft funded, microsoft staffed antiopensource lab research findings...
  • by glenebob ( 414078 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @01:51AM (#6623517)
    I wonder if they will take what they learn and try to use it to improve Windows. You'd have to be completely blind not to see that Windows is seriously lacking in the server OS arena, but it wouldn't cost MS all that much to make at least a nice improvement. Maybe Windows will finally get a decent console shell and a set of utilities, just to name two severely missed features.

    Some of us poor bastards out here actually have to program and administer MS OS's for work, and it sure would be nice to see some common features added. I don't give a rats ass what they say about Linux. Just throw me a friggin' bone here!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @02:25AM (#6623606)
    This is actually a very good thing. It will bring about two things:
    1. More eyes looking at Linux for problems. So long as we get to hear about those problems, this merely means more QA for us. Yepee!
    2. Microsoft finally realizing that the fact that they put their stamp on a product doesn't automatically makes it the best product in the world. Yes, that's what their corporate culture says right now. This will lead to more outward looking, and thus, hopefully, better redmond products.

    Of course, the cynic in me says that the outward looking will be focused on this particular lab only, and that the rest of the "bang your chest and think your'e the best" will not budge. Time will tell, I hope.

    Anonymous, since I long ago forgot my password.
  • by 01101010001010001010 ( 694010 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @03:20AM (#6623735)
    Surely if Microsoft does the research and points out 'facts' this will just give GNU/Linux developers a checklist of things to squash. The arms race that this will produce can only be good for GNU/Linux and ultimately backfire (again) on Microsoft. _Almost_ as good as free kernel patches from Redmond....
  • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2003 @03:45AM (#6623814) calling open source and Linux software 'a cancer

    Yep, it's spreading, now even MS has it.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"