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Microsoft Won't Vouch For Linux 208

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

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  • by Admodieus ( 918728 ) <john AT misczak DOT net> on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:16PM (#27574125)
    The theory of common sense states that if a company is paying to offer you training, then the training will probably focus almost entirely on, if not exclusively on, their own products. Does anybody really expect any company, Microsoft included, to pay for you to undergo training to make them obsolete one day/
  • by Leafheart ( 1120885 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:17PM (#27574145)

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

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

  • by viralMeme ( 1461143 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:22PM (#27574225)
    "The news conference included comments from Joy Waynewood, a 46-year-old Seattle resident who was laid off from her job as a customer service receptionist in December and plans to use the voucher program to learn Microsoft PowerPoint and Access skills"

    She'd be better off learning a scripting language, that way she won't have to sit there filling in click boxes. Instead let the computer do the job, instead of what invariably happens under the Microsoft paradigm, helping the computer do the work.
  • by jonnythan ( 79727 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:24PM (#27574259)

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

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

  • by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:24PM (#27574265) Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Personally, I want EVERY government training program to be training people is skills the real free market considers useless. Don't you?
  • by Aphoxema ( 1088507 ) * on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:28PM (#27574331) Homepage Journal

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

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

  • by Ahnteis ( 746045 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:32PM (#27574385)

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

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

    For server skills, learning scripting is de rigueur if you want to be a serious techie. As Cisco would attest to with its Cisco IOS []. The Windows click->select->click_down->select_again->fill_in_a_text_box, is confusing at best, at worst it's difficult to trouble shoot.
  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:49PM (#27574663)

    Read the classified adds.

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

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

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

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

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

  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:55PM (#27574799) Journal
    So, as an outreach to all the potential Linux users out there, why don't all the LUGs volunteer time to teach people how to use Linux? Hook up with state resources, threaten to sue if the state refuses to commit resources equal to those given to MS.

    This could be a great way to use grassroots education (open-source education, if you will) to increase the Linux userbase. Also some great PR, as the LUGs get to put a face on Linux users -- some facetime with Joe Sixpack could really help bring Linux into the mainstream.

    [remembers what everyone looked like the last time I went to a LUG meeting]

    On second thought, maybe we can set up a foundation to pay professional trainers...
  • by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:58PM (#27574845) Journal

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

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

  • by McNihil ( 612243 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:03PM (#27574921)

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

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

    Now a company like Microsoft needs to give incentives to make people use computers? Common... wtf... talk about living under a friggin rock.

    If people did not start to use computers by 2000 and they were about 50 then they shouldn't even start now... too much of a culture shock. They have the smart-phones though... thankfully!

    IMHO Microsoft is doing worthless pandering about this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:10PM (#27575045)

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

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:12PM (#27575085)

    I wouldn't be so sure. Right now, Windows XP is dominating the desktop, both in the home and in the corporate office. That's right, an obsolete OS which MS is desperately trying to EOL. Vista came out a couple years ago, and no one wants it, especially not corporations which are refusing to give up XP for their workers' desks. Now they're going to try to push Windows 7 and finally kill XP. Will it work? Who knows, but it's a big gamble. With this shitty economy, this is a great time for businesses to make the move to Linux desktops and stop pouring money into MS's coffers.

    The home desktop doesn't really matter as much, since so many people pirate Windows, and others get it pre-installed. It'll definitely be the last place to abandon Windows if that day ever comes.

  • by mR.bRiGhTsId3 ( 1196765 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:17PM (#27575179)
    I don't think that's what businesses are thinking. I think businesses are thinking lets hang onto our obsolete desktops running XP until the hardware itself physically breaks.
  • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:30PM (#27575365)

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

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

  • This just in... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:37PM (#27575447)

    Microsoft perpetuates lock-ins with "free" certification training for its overpriced moderately functional software.

  • by Chabil Ha' ( 875116 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:38PM (#27575473)

    Wrong again, for the reasons you state.

    Vista came out a couple years ago, and no one wants it, especially not corporations which are refusing to give up XP for their workers' desks

    So why, pray tell, would they give up XP (when you say the don't want to) for Linux? Why do they want to keep XP? Application and infrastructure compatibility. You're not going to get that (even make it worse) by going with Linux. I'm sorry, but 2009 (nor 2010, 2011, etc.) will not be the year of the Linux Desktop. The only way people would be jumping off the M$ ship is if Redmond were to suddenly implode, sucking into its massive black whole every installation of Windows with it. And even then, companies would still be using XP with bootlegged copies.

  • by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:48PM (#27575627) Journal

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

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

  • by filthpickle ( 1199927 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:51PM (#27575709)

    Nobody would even bother to mention a competitor who is sub par.

    probably not...(he didn't mention Linux in TFA either.)

    Plenty of reasons to hate MS if someone wants to, but their stance of 'we aren't spending our money training you how to use someone else's software' isn't a very good one.

  • by mea37 ( 1201159 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @05:19PM (#27577443)
    Or perhaps the objection is that it's something that Microsoft is doing.
  • by thtrgremlin ( 1158085 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @05:20PM (#27577465) Homepage Journal
    Just not the same thing. Apple convinced insecure and wannabe nerds (and some real nerds too) that a big shiny new gadget will make them look cool. The Linux Community is trying to convince people that enjoy finger painting and story-time that reading and writing are valuable skills that that can benefit you throughout your entire life.

    I am sure this sounds like typical fanboyism, but have you ever listened to someones excuses for not wanting to learn to read, write, or learn basic algebra? It is the same excuses: It won't be relevant to the career I want, I get along just fine speaking, that's just for smart people. Well, how is it that Linux can be both demonized for being inferior AND only for the really smart computer genius type. Might it be worth a moment to try and see what they see? Honestly, that is what convinced me that despite the fact that it was HARD, and there were things I had to LEARN or even REMEMBER, it was about communicating, building, developing, and working together in a radically different way. I think it took me about a year to get comfortable with Linux, several more before I really began to see why it is used in all the places that it is, and why people feel so passionately about it.

    Some people see a computer as a fancy typewriter for papers, a canvas for painting a picture, and an easier way to send letters and pictures than via snail mail. digital music is just another way to listen to music. For all those old things done in new ways, there is something uniquely special that can be expressed through a computer that isn't just a digital form of the same old thing in a different way. There is something uniquely powerful that enables people to fundamentally work different, and only Linux is where people can share instantly and unlimitedly the tools to express yourself and communicate with the world DIFFERENTLY.

    Sure, Microsoft and Apple let you push the button, but just like reading and writing, no matter how good the story is told, don't think that is any kind of substitute. You just aren't talking about the same thing. It isn't digital literacy.

    But don't worry, sure I am making a big deal out of nothing. You can already read and write, and computers are really just like books where it is easier to fix mistakes without wasting paper. There are nerds out there that take care of this stuff so that normal people can use them like books. Doubt learning how they work would ever be something worth anything to the 'normal' user.

    I stopped paying attention when it went from "The year of Linux" to "The year of the Linux Desktop". Didn't anyone notice what happened in between? Further, The Year of the Linux Desktop was 2004 with the release of openSuse. The Year of Linux was 1997 with the Internet. If you care about being literate in a digital age, you know about Linux.

    Wish I had made the effort to learn earlier, but guess just happy to be there. Having been there, there is just no way to explain to an adult illiterate person the value of learning how to read and write. I know it sounds elitist, but it really just struck me today how similar the arguments are. Think about it.

    Alright, now flame away.
  • by morcego ( 260031 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @05:44PM (#27577915)

    I never saw a company upgrading their computers because they were switching Windows versions. Yes, it can happen, but I never saw it.

    On the other hand, I saw several companies switching Windows versions WHILE upgrading their computers.

  • by thtrgremlin ( 1158085 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @05:49PM (#27577993) Homepage Journal
    Then the US I am sure will be fine in no time because by the same logic Congressmen + deeper pockets filled by lobbyists must equal better government for every American and citizen of the world. Thanks for clarifying that issue for me. I had always been told that corruption and bribes harm society, but so it would seem it really contributes to the GREATER good. Guess I just wasn't seeing how much GREATER that really was. Thanks.

    Now that I understand, think I am going to call up my bank and thank them for raising my interest rate.
  • Re:YMMV I guess (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jonner ( 189691 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @01:42AM (#27582687)

    Yeah, I've heard good things about PowerShell, though I haven't had an opportunity to use it. Perhaps I will if I need to do some scripting on Windows. OTOH, I generally prefer Python, which runs on a very wide variety of platforms, and gives full access to the underlying system in a portable way.

    Although Bash (as well as other *nix shells) is great for interactive commands and short scripts, it's a terrible programming language, so I generally switch to Python when a script exceeds about a page.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:24AM (#27584519)

    Don't forget free work breaks from random crashes, blessed evenings of fun with driver reinstalls, and of course, since linux has this crazy idea of actually including drivers in the OS, the sheer business opportunities of driver download sites.

    Yes, we still have a long way to go.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:28AM (#27584555)

    Yeah, and Linux is so incomplete, it doesn't even have hard drive fragmentation yet! How are you supposed to defrag a contiguous file system?

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton