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Microsoft starts anti-Linux Group 553

It started in the Wall Street Journal, but the story has spread all over. Microsoft has started group, much like in the case of Java to get into the minds of the Linux community. At least we now they see us as a serious, despite claims to the contrary.
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Microsoft starts anti-Linux Group

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Are we seriously suppose to believe that just now Microsoft has started to persuade people to use MS products and not consider Linux?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's just like Micro$oft to try to stop a competitor instead of rising to the challenge and improving their own products.

    I think I'll start a group to convince people not to use microshaft... oh wait... I already do that...

    (I hope to hear back from Rob with my account status soon...)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I remember a Wall Street Journal article
    a few years ago, on MS tactics on teams
    like this. They would find out the name
    of the children of key employees at the
    company under attack, and send the children
    of the employees birthday cards signed by
    the head of the MS attack team.

    So basically, we use the tactics of Ghandi,
    and they use the tactics of Pinochet.
  • It's not a mere group of ten, either. The Portland PR firm of Wagner Edstrom has scores of employees working on this too, and they've been busy since last fall. How's that expression about waking up and smelling the coffee go again?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." - Princess Leia, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'd sure like to see this proven: that Microsoft paid agents are scouring the net to disseminate propaganda. I've personally seen circumstantial evidence to suggest I've been targeted by Microsoft agents for surveilance: strange e-mails trying to convert me to the Dark Side, strange IP requests from tide71.microsoft.com, etc. Anybody else seen this?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I will use free software long after both linux and MS are gone. Free software is the un-crushable revolution, linux is just the tool that will be battered along the way.

  • If you don't want to use it, there's nobody to cram it down your throat. And, nobody's going to make you pay for it if you don't want it on your new PC.

    Have fun with NT, but whatever you do, keep it behind your firewall. NT security is a joke.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It is fair to say that Microsoft has the lead when it comes to the desktop. The support is there from so many other developers because they know that Windows isn't going away anytime soon. Also, you cannot overlook the installation processes of Linux and Windows.

    However, Linux is making substantial progress in this field. Standards must be set so developers can code for a single platform instead of making their applications KDE or GNOME or whatever compliant only.

    The installation factor is another thing that turns off newcomers. The configuration of a GUI at during installation must be made easier. Hopefully, the support from Dell will help. If a user sees the option of putting Linux on their new computer, they may choose that along with dual booting Windows. Who wants to spend an hour setting up a new OS besides the power user? My mother, father, and brother doesn't. All they want is a usuable machine so they can surf the web and type papers on. If Dell can ship a 550MHz PIII with Linux on it, configured with the latest GUI, a couple apps preloaded with the ability to run straight out of the box (just plug it in and go, Mac style), we're in good shape.

    Anonymous Bastard
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Huh? You make some valid points about M$ not being a true monopoly (i.e. only choice and govt-protected) but man, wake up and do some research into how their business model really operates. Next thing you know, you'll be telling us that O.J. Simpson was really innocent just because the original jury said so. Understand that it's possible to play games that get around laws and legislation. Understand that there is a mountain of circumstantial evidence orders of magnitude larger than in the OJ case that indicates that M$ plays dirty. If they violate developer contracts and have their people steal technology from "partners" then the wronged party should simply shrug it off and do their best to compete without any legal recourse? There are too many examples of M$ sending in their developers (and I used the term loosely) to review apps and technology being submitted for the "Windows compatible" certification and suddenly dropping partership deals months later and simultaneously announcing their own versions of those products (which of course had been in development all along). Should there be free markets? Yes. Should businesses that play dirty by violating laws, contracts and "intellectual property rights" and copyrights be prosecuted? Hell yes. So take off those blinders and consider context once in a while.. Good luck with your next business...
  • Linux is only free if you place no value on the time you have to spend futzing around getting it to work right.

    I give you license to FooOS and URL to download source and binaries. It's yours. This took no time on your part. What you choose to do after that is your problem. This is as free as any reasonable person expects.

    How can you possibly expect us to say, "'FooOS' is free. Just tell us you want it, we'll come in and admin your system, something you already have to do for Microsoft apps, and handle everything, all at no charge."?


    A lot of people work on it when they're being paid by an employer to be doing productive work to benefit the company. That's called theft.

    A lot of employers who are complaining about this probably have slavish intellectual property work agreements. This is theft of another sort, though perfectly legal.

    I don't know about other people, but I've only worked on parts of Linux while being paid by my employer when the parts were already developed and under the GPL, and fixing the bug in question WAS productive work for the company. The fact that I complied with the GPL and submitted my patch to the maintainer of the code is not something they can rightfully sue me for - I was bound by law to do so. Sure, I broke a work agreement, but one which should be illegal, and the alternative to breaking the work agreement would have either been to break another legal document, which would legally revoke the client's applicability under the GPL (sure, who'd know? But I'm talking ethics here, and what could be brought up in my defense in a court of law), or to not perform the duties of my job.

    Oh, not to mention that, last I checked, the majority of Linux developers were college students, generally ones who either couldn't code on the job period (Would you like fries with that?), or who were allowed to code whatever, just so long as they help any students who come to them with questions.

    Double Bah.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    OK for a long time I've been noticing decidely slanted ratings for the posts. EVERYONE who posts anything remotely linux positive racks up numbers, while anyone who even remotely criticizes them is effectively censored. At first I thought this moderating thing was a great idea because I would get to see the most insightful comments, but now this! The people in charge of moderation are no better than the company they live to bash. Now kindly dump me to the -'s, while I move to a more reputable news site :P

    If the MS FUD crew is behind these braindead pro-linux posts, then I extend my apolgies to the /. community!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Moderating is (almost) completely random now. CmdrTaco needs to write up how this works now, but it was in a post some time ago. I got some points here recently and started paying attention to scores. While it isn't perfect, it is ok. If you have a serious problem with it, get an account and make a difference.

    I have seen some posts that got moderated down for what couldn't have been any other reason then the moderator didn't agree with the statement. And I've moderated those posts back up to a one.

    MODERATORS: Go read your guidelines! -1 should be reserved for flames and crap. 0-1 average posts. 2+ is for insightfull posts.

    As far as the quote is concerned it may not be insightfull or new, but it is a little bit of a spirit lifter, if you're pro-linux. Every group needs somebody to yell with enthusiasm. I'd say it should be a 2 or a 3. Last I checked it was moderated down to a 3. (none by my doing.)

  • The Lexmark 7000, 7200, 5700, and the 5000 as well all appear to have a driver that works with Linux. Try this URL http://bimbo.fjfi.cvut.cz/~paluch/l7kdriver/

    This driver was actually hacked together without the approval of Lexmark. In fact according to this web site Lexmark considers the protocol a secret, but that didn't stop a Linux developer from hacking a driver that works even in color. He says he also intends to hack the protocols for 1000, 2000 and 3200 series Lexmark printers.

    Another example of driver writing with very few spec is at this URL
    This is a B&W only driver for some HP printers.

    The point is drivers can and do get written for so called "windows only" devices, completely independant of any hardware vendor support.
    Yes, hacking these things takes quite a bit more effort than if you have the protocol specs, but it is not impossible. With printers the task is not that bad. Winmodems however would probably take a very long time to figure out without specs and so far they have not been worth the effort. I agree that winmodems are not real modems and hacking them might be time better spent elsewhere, like on winprinters which actually are using just another type of protocol. There is nothing inherently "win" about a "win-printer" other than the fact that only windows drivers were written by the company. Actually Lexmark was pressured by IBM and their costumers into writing OS/2 drivers for several of the inkjet printers I mention above. Lexmark also wrote drivers for Solaris which I believe are available at a price. This proves that is printer companies wanted to, they probably could make almost any "win-printer" work perfectly with Linux.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 1999 @07:58AM (#1884875)

    "First they ignore you,
    then they laugh at you,
    then they fight you,
    then you win." (Ghandi).

    type faster - write more code!
    world domination is coming! :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:12AM (#1884876)
    I was at the sans security confrence in baltimore last week. Everyone laughed at NT, even the people giving the talks. Microsoft was trashed in every course I attended. I have also heard from other confrence goers that if its mission critical dont use microsoft. This person happened to be at an NT confrence. Ask mudge about the security of microsoft products I bet he has alot to say. During one of our lectures the powerpoint presentation blue screened the windows box. In another session the guy had to rebuild his NT box that day because it crashed and hosed the registry. Microsoft lovers need to get a clue.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:18AM (#1884877)
    We need to do what a company would do in a situation like this: counter benchmark with benchmark -- come up with benchmarks that best show Linux's strengths.
    We should recognize Linux's weaknesses privately, but play up Linux's strengths publicly.
    We shouldn't be too reasonable or fair about this: MS isn't, and being too reasonable will just play into MS's hands and get ourselves steamrolled by MS's massive PR machine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 1999 @03:20PM (#1884878)

    I read words like "war", "fighting back" and so on. IMHO we don't need this. Why you use linux? Because you like it, you love Linux and it just works.

    Using Linux is like listening to your favourite music!

    Nobody could prohibit you from loveing and listening to your favourite music. This is totally equal to using Linux. Just use Linux as you done it in the past. If you have coded some tools and/or programms release them to the public, share your code. If you have some wishes for some programms you use, just write your suggestions to the authors. Most authors will love user feedback. Your suggestions to authors or your own written code enhance Linux. Just ignore Micros~1. Do bussines as usual and use your favourite OS like you listen to your favourite music.

    Michael Roth

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:14AM (#1884879)

    I've been using linux as my only operating system ever since I got a computer in December 1994 and I've been pretty happy with it.

    At work, they got rid of our Solaris and Linux systems and installed NT everywhere. I was so offended by this PHB decision and opposed it strongly, occasionally rudely. I hated NT at first, but now that I'm getting used to it I think it's ok. It's never crashed and now that I have all the FSF tools installed--- things like TeX, LaTeX, dvi-viewers, Ghostscript, PS viewers, gunzip, tar, perl, a great editor, a pager, etc... I like it pretty well. I've even used Excel a couple times and it seems like a pretty nice spreadsheet (haven't checked out Word yet, but I know people who like it.) I have no complaints and while I was reluctant at first, I really prefer IE to Netscape.

    At home, netscape crashes, X freezes and basically my system has never run perfectly since I switched to glibc. I'm going to the expo today and am going to pick up Debian or RH-6 or maybe *BSD and give that a go before I drop a few hundred on NT, but frankly, I hate KDE, GNOME, and all that unstable, resource hungry crap that everyone works on. It's clear that linux has moved to a new target audience and left real users like me behind.

    I'm still learning windows and I haven't decided yet and hell, I can always go dual-boot, no?

    Best wishes, Tony

  • Linux has one feature that only the *BSD's have, and that is Open Source. In the end, thats all that really matters.
  • by pohl ( 872 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:03AM (#1884900) Homepage
    We should give them tons of advice here. They could start each day with a chorus of "join us now and share the software, you'll be free, hackers, you'll beeeee freeeeeee". Seriously, though, I'm happy to hear this little tidbit. It means that Microsoft is joining the peer-review process, which can only strengthen the software in the long run.
  • by Ami Ganguli ( 921 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:35AM (#1884902) Homepage

    Let RedHat, Oracle, IBM, Caldera, Corel, and anybody else who has a vested interest in fighting Microsoft deal with this.

    The correct response for Linux users/hackers is to keep doing what you've always done. Use the OS you like best. Code the apps you want to use. If you see a good application for Linux in your company, lobby to get it deployed. That's what will make Linux better.

    What happens in the "commercial" world is interesting and I really hope Microsoft gets thrashed, but it doesn't really affect us directly.

  • by Tim Macinta ( 1052 ) <twm@alum.mit.edu> on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:42AM (#1884907) Homepage
    If you feel like writing essays about Microsoft and you need a place to post them I'd be happy to let you use my KMFMS [kmfms.com] site. I've been gathering links to news articles as references to why Microsoft is bad [kmfms.com], and I think some essays on Microsoft's practices would compliment this list nicely. I've been wanting to write some myself for awhile but just working on the list of links has kept me busy.
  • by astroboy ( 1125 ) <ljdursi@gmail.com> on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:34AM (#1884910) Homepage
    Use whatever makes you most productive. It's all about choice.
  • by _damnit_ ( 1143 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:01AM (#1884911) Journal
    This is a great opportunity for linux.com and other sites to have their documentation at the ready to combat the oncoming flood of FUD. Everyone should help with documentation, especially graduates from "Newbie" status who can write-up nontechnical HOW-TOs for the upcoming class of newbies.

  • by Elias Ross ( 1260 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:20AM (#1884918) Homepage
    Why isn't Microsoft using those ten engineers to make their product better? What can ten engineers do to help the company researcing the competition. It seems like a clueless response some managers must have thought up. Those ten engineers will eventually come to the conclusion:

    1) Linux is more stable than NT, that's why people who need stable servers use it over NT.

    2) Linux is cheaper, and runs on cheaper hardware.

    3) You can't stop people from developing it.

    4) Every day, people are less and less afraid of it, wheres many people are afraid of Microsoft and their "roadmap." People are more conciencious about how they are being abused by Microsoft.

    5) Even though Linux has weaknesses, and is slower on 4-way Xenon Intel processors with 4 gigs of ram, etc., Linux is continuously being improved and will eventually be superior.

    6) Other companies have interest in seeing Linux succeed, and technologies such as XFS are being given away to help OS's like Linux. The goodwill is spreading like Christmas cheer, and the grinches at Microsoft are eager to spoil the party.

    Despite the nasty FUD which will no doubt increasingly come oozing out of Redmond Campus, think of it this way: They're wasting their time. And now, they're wasting even more of their money.

    Good luck.
  • agreed.

    My definition of cross-platform is NOT:
    Win32 and Solaris, and maybe as an afterthought Mac, BEOS and Linux.

    But that seems to be how Sun looks at things. It ain't cross platform at all folks. Not even close.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
    -jafac's law
  • we probably SHOULD care how the trial goes.
    If MS wins, then FUD mongering will reign supreme. Look at the whole OJ thing (again). If OJ had lost BOTH trials, there's be a LOT fewer people out there proclaiming his innocence.

    If MS loses, then we have the incredibly daunting task of punishing them. Breaking up the company has already been analyzed and it looks like more harm than good will come of it. Fining them will result in the same thing; consumers will end up bearing the cost. Writing up an injunction for them to cease and desist the alleged illegal behaviors will simply not work, because we're dealing with a Saddam Hussein-like attitude here. Remember the 1995 injunction? Bill laughed at it, they were dragged to court, found out of compliance, and won it on appeal anyway.

    In any case, MS will probably appeal and get it all thrown out in the end, but the important thing is that they must LOSE this initial trial. MS's strength is in it's PR, and that's what they'll lose by losing the trial. Any punishment the DOJ metes out will be trivial compared to the loss of face MS will suffer. This is the critical opportuninty, and probably the last, best chance for any competitor to make headway. The face MS has lost just by the negative press DURING the trial, has already shown itself, and this is why Linux is making corporate headway. I believe that if MS loses, Linux (and others - the whole MS-alternative mindset) will make enough headway, to actually get enough of a foot in the door to become a permanent fixture. Definately not a dominant one, I think MS's future is secure there no matter what happens with the trial (sadly). But the mindset that alternatives ARE available, and that it's NOT going to be an MS-only world will take permanent hold.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
    -jafac's law
  • "...someone who knows what they are doing."

    ??? It sounded to me like he pretty much knew exactly what he was doing. I myself remember the days when Netscape under Linux used to crash more often than Win95.

    When someone offers the completely valid opinion that existing GUI systems are (FOR THE THINGS HE USES THEM FOR) superior to their under-development Linux counterparts, it might be polite to point out some of the strengths of Linux GUI's, but your "good, go away" attitude does nothing but make the "Linux Crowd" look childish. Try to be a bit more mature when someone criticizes something you seem to value so greatly.

    A year ago, the GUI end of Linux wasn't nearly as mature as existing operating systems (some might argue that this is still the case). Combine that with the fact that I do a great deal of Windows-centric development at work.

    I currently own two PC's at home. One is running Win98, all of the MS office suites, development platforms, Adobe graphics programs, etc., and one X server. The other is running the latest and greatest Linux distribution without a monitor or keyboard. All of my applications are run via X under Win98.

    IMO, this is the best of both worlds.

    As I've always tried to say, and someone else mentioned this in another comment, it's all about using what makes you more productive. If you can't afford a second system or the time/resources for something like VMware, you'll need to choose a single operating system. If you can honestly say you're more productive under Linux doing Windows-centric work, fine, all the power to you. For those that are much more productive using Windows for similar work, the logical operating system choice would be Windows. If you can afford it (in time and money), a second system (or even VMware) allowing you to run more than one operating system simultaneously might offer you the best productivity.

    It's all about YOU using whatever makes YOU most productive. In most cases, you cannot make that decision for someone else. You need to drop that attitude entirely and wake up to the real world.
  • When I say I reboot less than once a month, this is my *workstation* I'm talking about.

    I have never noticed ANY service outage at all due to a crash or failure of any of our NT servers. We have periods of maintenance, but those are always off-hours and the only time that maintenance has ever gone awry was due to an OS upgrade and improper backups on one of our *UNIX* workstations.

    I say this only because I'm trying to point out that NT *can* be deployed successfully *if* you hire competant people.

    Never hire a Unix guy to manage your NT systems. Never hire an NT guy to manage your Unix systems.
  • No I'm just using an older version of X-Win32 X server under '98. All of my X apps run right alongside my existing Windows apps. It's very seamless and even lets me share the clipboard. VERY useful.

    I've even gone some steps further and have the two systems linked together on some more lower levels, thus allowing selected syslog messages to be routed through MS Agent, etc. :) Very slick!
  • by Fastolfe ( 1470 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @09:03AM (#1884930)
    A lot of big corporations tend to insist upon making all of their systems homogenous. This has quite a few drawbacks, obviously.

    The corporation I work for blends the two mainstream operating system classes nicely. For our workhorse applications such as databases, most of our web servers, etc., we use UNIX variants.

    All of our desktop systems (and some of our production servers, like for e-mail and some web) are NT4.0. I see quite a few people posting comments that say their NT installations crash *hourly* or at least once a day. No offense intended, but this is more of an indication of poor NT administration than anything else. Our computer support group is responsible for all of our major software packages, service pack updates, etc. This allows them to test everything thoroughly on all of the hardware known to be used by us. The result is a fleet of NT workstations that are nearly as stable as my Linux box at home. I'm not saying they're 100% stable, but I rarely even *log out* of NT but perhaps once every couple of weeks. I've rebooted my workstation *maybe* a dozen times in the year and a half that I've been here.

    So, you have two choices. You can train/hire competant Unix people to manage your Unix systems, or you can train/hire competant NT people to manage your NT systems. Reading some of these comments, it sounds like some of you are doing neither.

    Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying NT is superior to Unix in the least, but as far as application support and the fact that most of my work is done for clients using Windows, I need to use it as part of my job.

    At home, I own two PC's. One running Linux (without monitor/keyboard) and the other running Win98 along with an X server for my Linux apps. IMO this is an excellent compromise and allows me to take advantage of strengths inherent in both operating systems.

    Of course, I still have to reboot Win98 pretty frequently (though usually no more than once or twice a week).

    The point is, I do this because I work most productively having access to both operating systems simultaneously. Some people may work in environments where a Unix OS will suffice perfectly, and make them more productive than if they were using Windows. However, there are environments where using Windows IS the best option, because that's what they need to work most productively. It's fairly difficult to develop ActiveX under Unix, for example.
  • by Matts ( 1628 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:27AM (#1884934) Homepage
    My first thought when I read this was:

    "How does the free software community fight that!"

    I mean, 10 microsoft employees - that's got to be over a million bucks a year to MS... That's some serious effort to fight a free operating system.

    But then I relaxed - because we don't have to fight it - we just keep on using and producing quality products, and fight them on our terms - quality, stability, openness, freedom. Those are terms MS finds it very difficult to fight on.

    I'm actually quite happy now that they've done this - it means they are totally serious about the free software community, and gives them more credibility than I could possibly have imagined over a year ago.

    Thanks Bill.

    perl -e 'print scalar reverse q(\)-: ,hacker Perl another Just)'
  • by timur ( 2029 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @09:14AM (#1884937)
    I'm not a Linux advocate (well, I am with respect to Windows, but not any other OS), so I guess I'm biased here a bit, but I don't think Linux is 100% self-sustaining.

    What I mean by that is that I don't think everyone in the Linux community is completely satisfied with the software generated by others in the "Linux community". I'm sure there are some people who want more commercial software. For example, the engineers who are forced to use NT-based design software because their managers say so or because the Unix hardware is too expensive.

    Yes, Linux can't be "defeated", certainly not the way the Amiga has been. However, if Microsoft can reduce the growth of Linux's marketshare (or even stop its growth), that will do damage to Linux. Few ISV's want to write software for a stagnant platform.

    I don't think your "code and passion" is enough for many Linux users. How many, I can't say. But that's Microsoft's angle. For instance, I can't run Linux at work, because:

    • Outlook doesn't run, and our email system is 100% Outlook
    • There's no PVCS client for Linux
    • Microsoft Office won't run (Yes, I know about Star Office)
    • Internet Explorer won't run (many of our internal web sites use IE-specific features)
    • The DOS support is medicore, and probably won't run all of my old DOS-based development tools
    And so on. There are plenty of other DOS and Windows apps that I need to run because there are no Linux equivalents. Yes, I know about Wine and VMWare, but I seriously doubt they'll be enough.

    The point the original poster is trying to make (I think) is that the current Linux community doesn't care about anyone who doesn't use Linux. I don't think that's correct. I think most Linux users WANT others to use Linux. But that's not going to happen as long as the software that people need isn't available. And if MS does a good enough job at convincing enough people to NOT use Linux, then the software won't be ported.

    Yes, the Linux community has created some incredible software on their own. I especially enjoy the Gimp for OS/2, because every other OS/2 graphics package is mediocre at best. However, I just don't think it's wise to disregard Microsoft's attempt at thwarting Linux acceptance.

    Timur Tabi
    Remove "nospam_" from email address

  • by Hrunting ( 2191 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:42AM (#1884939) Homepage
    I suppose that they're going to do the same thing that they've done to every other product they've come in contact with. Instead of defending Linux, people should read into the FUD to find out what Microsoft is attacking. Microsoft is probably going to start poking the tender spots of Linux, the spots that need to be addressed, the very spots that corporations are worried about. People should take Microsoft's FUD as an RFE. Rather than saying, "Our operating system is inherently superior to yours," say, "Hey, Softies, thanks for the tips!" and then program solutions to what Microsoft (and probably the businesses they target) sees as problems.

    This is a Good Thing(tm). With Microsoft's eagle eye on the warpath, people are going to be more critical than ever of something that's already blessed with stability and strength. If the cards are played correctly, Linux can use what looks like a negative as an ultimate positive.
  • Interesting point. So the harder they push, the more we gain? I can see this is true if they actually try arguing with real data, and real facts.

    However, if they attack us as they attacked Java, that is, by taking Linux and extending it in a proprietary fashion, we could be in trouble.

    How could they do that? I proposed one method: create a version of MS-Office that will only run when a specific library is installed, and make that library available only with MS-Linux. Since it is not part of the kernel, they wouldn't have to release it as free software.

    Did you ever read the story, "And Then There Were None"? It was an interesting '50s short story. Very funny. In it, a galactic patrol vessel lands on a planet of peaceful folk. Ever patrolman who goes into the world ends up "going native." Wouldn't it be great? Everyone who joins the "anti-Linux" group turns native?

    That'd be a hoot.
  • "Which is of course a problem with linux... how silly of us... any time we can't connect to Slashdot, it's obviously a problem with Linux! "

    This is the same rationale that most Linux advocates have used to bash NT.

    Witness the story about the Navy ship that had a problem with their system last summer.
  • by pridkett ( 2666 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:23AM (#1884944) Homepage Journal
    There is a possibility this could actually be a good thing. How so you might wonder? Well lets look at the situation, Microsoft has acknowledged that linux is a serious operating system that is making gains in the enterprise market. The enterprise market, is what matters, perhaps as much as the desktop.

    So with this insight, microsoft has decided to dissuade people from using linux. By doing this they will cause people to actually evaluate their decision more than before hand. If someone says hey "linux can't serve SMB shares as efficently as NT can" then most IT people will look into it. If they do a good job they will find that its not nescessairly true, and in many situations the information that mickeysoft says is wrong.

    We've seen them do this before. Saying that Java development was slow, inefficent and lacked a use. Yet we see that Java is alive and very strong today. Partially because the stuff that mickeysoft said was false, partially because the people behind Java were smart enough to change the system to address those faults.

    With all the smart people behind linux its likely that the same thing will happen. By showing where the major bulletholes are, linus, alan and the crew will hopefully be able to make it bulletproof.
  • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @10:45AM (#1884948)
    I'd say we should start a team whose purpose is to demonstrate the inability for Microsoft products to be used for reliable enterprise applications, but they keep beating us to it.

    First there was the Windows development team.
    Then there was the OS/2 development team.
    Hmmm... and the NT development team.
    Um... the Bob development team.
    Um... Windows 9x development team.
    Windows 2000...
    Hmmm... Internet Explorer
    SQL Server development team...
    Backoffice (if there is such a development team)

    And I've got a box of dead Microsoft mice too...

    This isn't worrisome, because for every person they've got fighting Linux, they've to 2,000 or more developers working to release products that demonstrate its better!
  • by smithdog ( 3152 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:10AM (#1884962)
    As that wise man said, and has been quoted here many times before. First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win. I have been using GNU/Linux since the days before kernal 1.0 was released. As I have said in this forum many times before, Free Software is the main evolutionary path and M$ is a dead end. The power of Free Software exceeds its own technical superiority because the code does not die when companies go out of business. There is no stopping Free Software now. Three cheers to RMS, Linus, and all the other contributors to the Free Software movement. I also belive that the GNU/GPL is a significant development in world history. Stallman will always be remembered for this triumph of intellectual freedom. Cheers, gbs
  • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:36AM (#1884964)

    Microsoft isn't a software company, it's a monopoly company. It doesn't develop its product to survive, it survives by attacking the competition's immune system.

    This is not to say that their products are without merit. Their products are of minimal merit. Just barely stable enough (99.9% uptime), barely secure enough (C2 Security), barely open enough (Currently investigating open source) and standards complant enough (Posix, OS/2) to squeak past the IT managers.

    I wonder if MS will attack Linux with FUD, attempt to sabotage the codebase, or engineer incompatabilities into their OS. For instance extending SMB further to intentionally make it legally or technically difficult to emulate. Make IE not render pages generated by Apache, or perhaps a warning that perfomance is not gauranteed with Apache servers... kind of like what they did to DR DOS.

    I don't like this one bit. Don't doubt the capabilites of MS, the history is quite clear, they fight dirty.

    The popularity of linux is all that seems to concern MS. Orignially, Linux did not depend on popularity to continue. I hope that is still the case.

  • I thought they might be forming a group to do the only thing that might hurt Linux: make Windows NT efficient, rock stable, compatible with decades of portable code, truly multiuser, secure, and network transparent.

    But naah, they're just going to spread some FUD.

    Move along folks, nothing to see here.
  • Slashdot is the only site I access on a regular basis that goes down often enough for me to notice. Occasionally Excite displays a "standard" page rather than my customized page, but at least the site stays up. Slashdot does have far more outages than most sites so it really isn't useful as an example of the stability of Linux. It really doesn't matter whether it's the fault of Linux or the network or routers since Rob rarely explains what the problem is.

    Take today for example. Slashdot was inaccesible for at least 4 hours and the lack of posts sugests that it wasn't just me who couldn't reach it. Is there anything posted to explain the problem or even admit that there was a problem? No. Let's just ignore it and pretend that this Linux based site didn't have a 4 hour outage.
  • >More hype than it deserves

    I use it, it works, that's not hype.

    >Nothing new from what existed 20 years ago (well, >actually Unix is older than that...)

    And the problem with that is?

    >Lots of special effects, but no real content >(show me something that Linux can do that other >OS's can't)

    He he, easy one; Linux does it all at the same time.

    >Can't hold up on it's own (you still need to dual >boot to nt or 95 to run your real software, or >get any work done,

    Like what? I run it 24/7 at work, doing real work.
    The only games I play are chess and quakeII, what else is there?

    There is no other OS on my harddrive.

    Sounds like this is a troll to me; bet your reversed IP would show tide7.microsoft.com
    I rather hope that it's true; because if not your a moron.

  • I think we should track tide7.microsoft connections; I realize it would not be hard to
    get around.
    But I am starting to think there is a bit of
    astroturf going on.
  • The problem is I have way better things to do with my time that reinvent the wheel for the 600th time. I'm not going to write an Outlook clone just so I can use linux. I'm only going to use linux when there is an Outlook available.

    This line reminds me of something that happened one night. One night, I was going out to dinner with some people I didn't know. My wallet was empty, so I stopped by the bank to get some more money from the ATM machine. Except for the fact that my ATM card was bad. So, I ended up having to mooch food that evening.

    The people I was having dinner with included Richard Stallman. This experience had me asking myself: Am I mouching software from the FSF and the Linux developers in the same way I had to mooch food for dinner that evening?

    Needless to say, asking Richard Stallman for free moo shoo pork instead of egg rolls would have been rude beyone rude. It was bad enough I was having to mooch dinner! Demanding someone in the Linux community to make a free Outlook Express clone, or whatever, is, IMHO, just as rude.

    To paraphrase a famous quote, The question I need to ask myself is not what Linux can do for me, but what can I do for Linux.

    - Sam

  • This obviously leaked story is FUD itself - IS managers see that Microsoft is getting serious about killing Linux. We better not install Linux if Microsoft is about to kill it.

  • Admittedly, you have a point.

    MS is not concerned with their marketshare on the desktops right now. They're worried about Windows NT. Linux can't compete on the desktop right now due to various reasons that we're working on. But, that's besides the point. I'm sure these people were hired to save their server market just as much as they were to save their desktop market.

    Let's see what they can't do:

    Unless they haven't learned yet, they are not bound to attack Linux by attacking its weaknesses. We don't have a marketing department. We just have a lot of people willing to fix these problems quickly, if they're not FUD.

    They can't fight us with FUD very effectively, because the Internet tends to educate the ignorant.

    They can't fight us by closing Internet standards because their marketshare with Internet servers isn't high enough to close off standards. That's a big plus for Linux at this point. Their marketshare is dropping, not rising, so this is becoming more and more of an advantage of Linux.

    The Internet, Linux's home, is a hard beast to tame. We have a definite advantage, since they have to fight on our turf to win a decisive victory.

    So, what to worry about? I think they are already fighting us on all the fronts they can.

    Exclusionary deals with hardware manufacturers like Winmodems, Winprinters, etc. It would be a much more expensive proposition to switch to Linux if you have to buy new hardware. They could perhaps make a new plug-and-play standard that works better but only works with special Windows-only devices. There are any number of things they could do on this front. However, the extent that they can do this will diminish as Linux gets more and more acceptance, and with a marketshare of 17% in servers, it will be hard to convince hardware manufacturers to go Windows-only on the PC architecture. Additionally, Windows-only devices won't perform as well as hardware-based controlling devices on the server.

    They could continue to threaten OEM's with higher prices for Windows preloads if they offer Linux at all. But, big deal. They're fighting us on the server end, not the desktop.

    Does anyone have any other ideas? Litigation is kind of a stretch. Who do they sue? The FSF? Do you realize how much money the FSF could garner for their defense?

    Create M$-Linux? I think they have too much pride for that.

    I don't think they'd go on either of these routes.

    We need a good brainstorming session here to try and have a viable game plan when they make their next move. We were caught by surprise with the Mindcraft study, and while it is helping us now, a different reaction at that point would have been much better.

  • This is a good strategy. It would dilute Microsoft's efforts and they would be spreading themselves too thin.

    I have a point in addition to yours though:

    I think the community needs to stop the infighting. I absolutely hate seeing FreeBSDers harp about how the GPL license is harmful, and how we shouldn't use Linux because of that. I hate seeing Linux people say that Linux is the only solution. We need to present a united front and encourage software diversity, like the original poster said.

    Additionally, open software development is not the end-all of everything. There are plenty of areas in which closed software development works better.
    In the end, every job is different, and no one solution can possibly fulfill the needs of everybody. Linux and the use of other software offers diversity and configurability that is missing if the marketplace is controlled by one company. This is a weakness of Microsoft, with their Windows-only approach. We need to make this point as a counterattack. We need to put them on the defensive.

    We need to start looking at weaknesses of Microsoft and play up those weaknesses. I am not talking about just technical weaknesses. What weaknesses are there in their business model that we can target?

    BTW: This is probably starting to look like a Microsoft brainstorming session, except, we're brainstorming on counteracting Microsoft.

    At any rate, my post was a digression.

    Your post was definitely worth the 5.

  • There are white characters on that blue background when an NT BSOD strikes. I have personally used the information on the page to troubleshoot and fix problems.

    Certainly very user friendly dealing with Hex values.

    I don't know how NT users can say that it is easy to use, and yet tell you that you have to edit this registry key to this value after installing this in order to get a machine tuned properly, all in the same breath.

    I think it takes the same amount of skill to be a competent NT admin as it does to be competent with Linux. This FUD about NT being easy to use needs to be dispelled.

    Then again, the BSOD is largely a bit of folklore to many Linux users, who've never used NT and just talk about it a lot online.

    I would have assumed that was sarcastic if I hadn't seen the tone of the rest of the message. The reason most people use Linux is because NT hasn't been able to fulfill some need (i.e. stability, speed, whatever), and Linux has.

  • by edgy ( 5399 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:53AM (#1884988)
    Our development roadmap is created by the needs of the users of Linux. It's the best roadmap there is. Maybe Microsoft can help guide our development roadmap by talking up the areas that are weak in Linux. If it's FUD, it won't hold up because the Internet tends to expose that. However, if it's valid, then the Linux community will fix it.

    Lack of a journalled filesystem? Okay, we'll take care of that, with SGI's help, and also the work of kernel hackers.

    Lack of a GUI? Let's get KDE/GNOME more robust and stable.

    Lack of a good configuration utility?

    Any other perceived weaknesses? Other companies/individuals/groups can come in and fill in and then support that subsystem. There is lots to be made in that. Are you listening? Apparently, SGI is.

    Maybe MS can help the Linux development effort after all. Haven't you noticed how the more the weaknesses are talked about by people, the more interest there is in fixing them?

    This document [kegel.com] shows that in the weeks after the Mindcraft tests, kernel hackers and interested parties have been able to bring Apache and Linux performance to 3 or 4 times what it used to be, and they've identified problems in the kernel that are being fixed as we speak. Sure there are weaknesses, but the biggest advantage of Linux is that there are many eyes to find out where these weaknesses are and how to fix them when they are exposed.

    Like someone else here said, this is a guerilla war. The harder MS fights us, the more resources they use to extinguish us, the more people will be turned off to Microsoft and will question their practices. The more desperate Microsoft becomes, the more obvious it is that they are losing.

    It's hard to flail at a moving liquid target that cannot be pinned down to one organization or group of people.

    Linux grew with the Internet. It grew without any media attention. It grew and still grows because it meets real-world needs. It has nothing to do with hype. It did just fine without media attention. We basically had to force the media into noticing us. As long as it can meet real world needs for the users/developers and has a good chance of providing that in the future, it cannot lose.
  • See a much more extensive article at MSNBC [msnbc.com]
  • I dont think there is a way to keep microsoft fighting fair. Chances are, there never will be... The only thing you can do is beat them at thier own game. They will do anything in thier power to stop the Linux juggernaut... All we can do is keep working and keeping the vision of open-source in front of us... If we loose that vision, there is nothing that keeps Microsoft from crushing linux... in fact, the only thing that makes linux great, in my opinion, is the fact that it is opensource and uses the GPL. I think that is what kept people from using the BSD licensed systems to the extent that Linux has gotten use.
  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:35AM (#1884996) Homepage
    Once again, I say that it's essential for the Linux community to make up their own rules for the game.

    One such rule is to *not* defend one's product as the be-all and end-all. That's a business game, not an open community game.

    Promote *ALL* other alternative OSes. Promote the BSDs. Promote BeOS. Promote MacOS and QNX and PalmOS(?) and every other OS.

    They all have their place. QNX is a major force in the embedded market. Kicks ass on WindowsCE in every way. The BSDs are incredibly well done and kick NT ass. BeOS kicks everyone's ass in the multimedia department. MacOS is experiencing a resurgence, and is a delight to use.

    Don't let Microsoft focus on one thing! Force them to deal with *ALL* things, *ALL* the time.

    They can't spread FUD on all the competition...

    ...change the rules! Keep them hopping --- and learn to use the mass media!
  • Linus upset at the benchmarks? He'll be focusing on improving scores? Credentials please.

  • by dbMudd ( 7683 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:46AM (#1884998) Homepage
    I found the C|NET blurb to be less than enlightening, and would like to read the original Wall Street Journal article mentioned by /. Could someone provide the date/page of this article, please?
  • I know, I know, we've covered this before but
    it just seems so obvious it has to be said again!

    If they take the same approach to Linux as they
    have to Java then they'll attack from the inside.

    I reckon it'll start with a highly supported
    and easy to install distro to gain boxes then
    they'll start to add MS specifics which won't
    be open source and probably not as well written
    as the NT equivalents.

    Slowly they'll tighten their
    grip and strangle Linux from the inside.

    Seen it all before.

  • MS was only able to do this against OS/2 and
    Java because IBM and Sun must justify their
    existence with dollars.

    Linux only has to justify its existence with
    its own existence.

    What they might accomplish is shutting us
    out of IT in business. Make it impossible for
    us to get high-end stuff like JFS or ORBs and
    so on, by influencing the people who would
    create those things.

  • I'm NOT referring to competition on technical grounds - Linux can and will kick NT's ass in a fair fight, as a server at least.

    But the simple fact of the matter is that Linux is GIVEN AWAY FOR FREE. The vast majority of people who work on it WORK ON IT FOR FREE. In an economic sense, how does this constitute competition? It's like saying that backyard gardens are competition with supermarkets. The reason the Linux model works is that it DOESN'T depend on sales!

    Every commercial competitor of Microsoft's has been woefully unable to generate enough sales to build momentum, even when, as in the case of OS/2, their product was superior and in the market first. Microsoft has too much of a headlock on the sales channel and the mindshare of businesses and corporations. Not enough copies of the OS get sold, and so not enough software companies jump in making software for the OS because the market is too small, which in the turn causes people to not buy the OS. It's a vicious cycle.

    The only reason that Linux hasn't fallen victim to this is that Linux isn't being developed for monetary reward. It's like if all the HO scale train buffs decided to build a real train line for the love of it.

    Saying that Linux is competition for Microsoft is like saying that ham radio is competition for the telcos. It's being developed completely outside the traditional arena of work for pay. How then can you say that it competes within that arena?

    Am I making sense?

    Jon Acheson
  • That is not what they do to kill competitor. It is something they constantly do though. What they have already started is a campaign to spread FUD about the competitor. They will not allow a superior technology eclipse their junk in the MINDs of IT and IS managment. I will say this again, THEY DID THIS TO OS/2 and the result is ugly. Published lies, invalid benchmarks, biased user studies by industry 'professionals'. If they win again we will have no hope of ever having a choice as to what data comes into our homes or what tools we can choose to do our jobs (technological solutions).

    I just hope the public/press is smarter now then when OS/2 was attacked.

    Help us Obe Wan Email, you're our only hope.
    (knowledge is power if it can be diseminated)
  • No, no, no, you people must be too young to have seen what a Microsoft fed press can do to a superior competitor. OS/2 was annialated in the press with front page stories like OS/2 not having long filename support or that users found it very difficult to use. Even when IBM was selling around 1 million copies a month (selling, not preloads) a Ziff Davis reporter in Europe said IBM was killing OS/2 and the word spread. Later a friend was visiting the head of a Denver Hospitals IT department( they are friends ) and in conversation the IT head said that he had stopped evaluating replacing DOS/Windows with OS/2 because IBM was killing it.
    This is what CAN happen to Linux and they have been targetting Linux since October of 1998. Remember the Holloween Document? This is serious folks, they are masters at this.
  • I once spent all day hacking on some perl module I downloaded for a graphing project. Half of it asking about my need for a statistical graphing package, half of it futzing with some internal data to expose it to other program logic. This moved my milestone for prototyping the system by three days. I gave away no IP, my job title and division are public knowledge, I simply said I needed statistical packages for tracking helpdesk incidents. Everyone in the industry knows what that involves. Nor was I compelled in any way to release my work, as it simply wasn't being made public.

    That's not theft, that's industry association. I saved the company a lot of time, and my time isn't free.
  • by edhall ( 10025 ) <slashdot@weirdnoise.com> on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:54AM (#1885034) Homepage

    Like the Mindcraft benchmark/media event, this will wind up making Linux stronger.

    It may be hard for us to accept, but some of their complaints about Linux will wind up being true. Then we show them a strength Linux has that they will never have: the Linux developer community. A solution will be created, tested, and deployed in the time it takes Microsoft to organize a project team.

    The only way Microsoft can beat us is if we fear looking at our own flaws, and so don't focus on fixing them.

  • Acknowledging the competition is a sure sign of trouble. And spreading FUD about them never works. There's no such thing as bad publicity. I have a feeling this is going to blow up in Microsoft's face in a big way.
    • Linux is hyped by those who use it, not by those who are paid to sing its praises.
    • The average Linux distribution includes quite a bit of software much younger than 20 years old. Including web browsers/servers that were originally intented/implemented on UNIXen (IIRC).
    • No matter what distribution/desktop environment/window manager you use, Linux (and all UNIXen) provides a good engine under the hood. Plenty of good content there.
    • "Real software" and games in the same sentance? I think most would agree the Doom/Quake series are good games. And all my work gets done with EMACS, gcc, python, perl, Java, etc. I fail to see how Windows would be of any use whatsoever.
    • Linux already gives me more value for development work than Windows ever has. Or likely ever will.
    Really, you can't possibly be serious.
  • Fine--that way, they can alienate their former friends even more. There's not just Linux. there's FreeBSD. If there are no free operating systems left because Microsoft killed them all, there's music, family, gardening, and lots of other things that Microsoft will *never* have anything to do with, and frankly, are far more interesting than computers.

    If Microsoft takes away my access to free software to suit their arrogant nature, it won't do them any good because I just won't mess with computers anymore except at work. I don't plan on buying Windows 98, nor Windows 2K for hobbying at home. And if they continue to act like arrogant bastards the way they are now, it'll never happen later on, either. I have better things to do than consort with boors. My piano-playing has suffered a lot these past few years from neglect...

    On the other hand, they might realize that there are lots and lots of people around who would view them with newfound respect, and support the use of their products, if they would start acting mature. I used to think they might learn to understand Linux, and write a few things for us. I can always hope.

    This is what Microsoft will find out when they "get inside our heads." They'll find out that they've been behaving like little bullies that want the whole block, and that when they get it, there will be no one around to play with anymore. And no one to help them when they get in trouble. And lots of other big bullies to take them out.

    And lots of technical experts that will do *anything* to *not* have to work in a Microsoft shop.

    *That* is when their problems will *really* start.

    One final point: The Roman Empire once viewed the Christians as a "cult." Where is the seat of Christianity these days?
  • by Trith ( 10719 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:36AM (#1885041) Homepage
    >More hype than it deserves

    No, the ability to have a free, stable OS is not hype. It's just good.

    >Nothing new from what existed 20 years ago
    >(well, actually Unix is older than that...)

    Think about what you say before you say it. New apps are developed every day. Besides, if you'll step out of the box and see features as more than command line syntax, you can see that being FREE is a new thing for UNIX. How much did it cost relative to now 20 years ago?

    >Lots of special effects, but no real content
    >(show me something that Linux can do that other >OS's can't)

    It can stay up under large loads without crashing.

    It allows you to continue to use your computer for longer periods of time without upgrading.

    Forgive me, but I must include the Bewolf clustering and the fact that I don't see a NT cluster making the worlds 16th fastest computer.
    Someone please provide the link for that because I don't have it handy.

    By the way, how many users can log onto NT Enterprise Server at a time? one?

    >Can't hold up on it's own (you still need to >dual boot to nt or 95 to run your real software, >or get any work done, or play any good games.)

    The games part was true, but now Quake III, Civ III, Myth II and such are comming out for Linux.
    I can't run virues in Linux though. I always have to reboot to Windows when I want to use them.

    >We have to wait 3-6 years for it to be worth >anything (who wants suffer waiting for linux to >mature, I'll install it once it can do the >things i need it to do and runs the programs i >need to run).

    I can do more with Linux than I can with NT. The only thing NT does better is crash. It does that quite well.

    You've obviously either never used Linux or just don't have the disire to be the best. I've used NT. I can speak from experience on both sides. Linux is far superior.

    I'm not being mean, but you really just don't have a clue about Linux. Seriously, give it a try. I think you'll be surprised.

    Romans 10:9-10 [gospelcom.net]
  • Note that NT is just as finicky about hardware as Linux, possibly more so. My old Compaq has seen about 100% uptime with NT4, with the only blue screens due to filesharing with an NT5 beta and a hardware memory parity error that presumably would have halted Linux as well. On the other, RedHat 5.2 on the same box was crash-city, due to the supposedly supported, but not really, AMD PC-SCSI driver.

    Now I could have posted a bunch of hyperbola about what an unstable piece of crap Linux is, but instead I went over to eBay and bought a $20 Adaptec SCSI card, and it's working fine.

    NT is by no means a perfect operating system - the file+print (ironically, what MS charges licences for), and IIS are not too stable. But throw the right hardware and enough memory at it, and it's a functional operating system.

    (BTW, as far as I know, there are very few native WinNT viruses. Lots of MS Office viruses, but that's not really a "system" security issue.)


  • Whoever moderated this down should get their sense of humor overhauled.

    (Oh wait, I just imagined thousands of slashdotters reading the Score 5 post above and having little halos appearing around their head while they waited for Netscape to page down.)

  • I dunno -- I hear from IT types all of the time "We don't care if the product is broken -- we just want the vendor to admit it and fix it." Linux projects do this very well.

    Microsoft of course is one of the worst vendors for documenting their bugs and providing timely fixes (although they've been better lately about security problems). Trying to whitewash flaws in Linux or screaming "FUD!" is essentially playing the same game as Microsoft.

    (Even when Microsoft promises a feature in Windows 2000, they are essentially admitting that NT4 is broken or feature deficient in some respect. Why can't Linux people do the same?)
  • Strange, isn't it? NT is utterly demolished at the high end. They've practically given away the low-end. They're trying to tell a story about the middle-high range, but they can't unless they pick what is currently the wrong competitor.

    I think Microsoft is painfully aware of this. Where NT was originally positioned to be a viable competitor to OS/2 and NetWare back in the days when "PC LAN" management was seperate from the "Data Center", they've found themselves in the position where people are actually buying $100,000s of hardware and software to run a line of business NT applicaiton and not having the best luck at it.

    The only way for Microsoft to keep growing is to get more and more of this "Datacenter" market share, and so they've promised that Win2000 will scale higher than NT4. At the same time they can't let Linux (and Novell) to eat their lunch on the departmental server level. Tough line to walk, especially when you have a one-size-fits all product.

    Where Microsoft doesn't want Linux to be is *painfully* obvious -- the desktop. Microsoft knows that control of modern computing is centered around the desktop. This is where you can make and break standards.

    The only reason the desktop is the center of modern computing is because people have bought into Microsoft-style computing. The average corporate user would probably be served best by a XTerm or an NC, *if* the applications are there. One of the best way for Linux to take over the desktop is to provide a more managable solution than Microsoft does. I don't see that right now, because desktop Linux users+programmers are primarily the home/hobbiest types.

    (PS - I snuck my Atari 810 unit in, but someone tried to throw it in the garbage, along with a bunch of valuable EISA cards.)

  • Then again, the BSOD is largely a bit of folklore to many Linux users, who've never used NT and just talk about it a lot online.

    Probably true - Most probably are familiar with a Windows 95 or 3.1 blue screen, which could happen with an application crash or just by removing a disk from the A: drive at the wrong time, and are confusing this with an NT BSOD, which only happens with a kernel crash (and is usually hardware related.)

  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @12:59PM (#1885059) Journal
    Actually, OS/2 was evaluated by corporate IT departments and either adopted or not adopted before Windows NT was even released and certainly before IBM tried the desperation move of pushing Warp through retail. (You can take the big retail sales of RedHat at the same face value as the big retail sales of OS/2 a few years back.)

    {It's true that OS/2 was technically superior in many respects, but it also had some pretty severe technical problems, such as being very closely tied to IBM brand hardware in the earlier releases, and a UI that actually was difficult to use, and a $300 TCP/IP stack, and so on. However, OS/2 Server's biggest problem it was a PC application server before most people decided they needed PC application servers, and probably was before it's time in this respect.}

    Windows NT has stolen server market share from just about everyone (OS/2, UNIX, NetWare, VAX) except the AS/400 in the 1990s. Sure the good press helped, but Microsoft was able to do this primarily because their competitors were bloated and slow and stuck in their own little vertical markets and high prices. A revived Novell, IBM, and Sun are starting to change this equasion, so Microsoft's problems look like they're running deeper than just Linux.

    As far as "targeting" Linux goes, what does everyone expect? Every vendor "targets" their competitors. It's not as if Microsoft is going to sit there and say "Well, they're just a bunch of idealistic kids, so let them eat our lunch!"

    What's more likely is a very cheap version of Windows 2000 Server to make their products look more cost effective.
  • Actually, If you think about it, Microsoft doing this may bring hardship, but in the end we will survive. You see, in doing this, microsoft is bringing this into a light where the two products are compared "head on".

    But when the smoke clears, how much farther ahead will linux be? We all know linux is not yet leaps and bounds ahead of other Unix flavors, and NT does have its selling points. After all, you can't really "root" an NT box can you? And how good is linux device support at this point?

    If the linux community really wants its darling OS to come out on top, it needs to fix what is broken, and consistently keep things like performance, security, and reliability at the top of its list. Diggety Dank, the dankest of the dank.
  • There is a major difference when dealing with the Linux community though. The thing that many people (including those at Microsoft) forget is that we don't HAVE to use Linux, we want to. We aren't being forced to use it. I might be a sucker, but I think that human nature will eventually prevail, and that people will eventually realize that with Microsoft, there is no choice involved. Choice is the essence of what makes us human. We chose Linux. And no one can take that from us. :-)
  • by kaisyain ( 15013 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @10:50AM (#1885080)
    Don't complain about a lack of software, do something about it!

    The problem is I have way better things to do with my time that reinvent the wheel for the 600th time. I'm not going to write an Outlook clone just so I can use linux. I'm only going to use linux when there is an Outlook available.

    Doing something about the lack of software only makes sense if you have a vested interested in seeing the platform survive. I don't. Linux is just an OS.
  • by webslacker ( 15723 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:14AM (#1885098)
    This has nothing to do with who has the better multitasking, who has more stability, or who can throughput more data. It's all about politics and money. Already Microsoft hands huge grips of cash to many render-farms to switch away from Macs and SGI's to NT. Already Microsoft spreads propaganda to IT's about NT's server performance.

    Can't be bought? Maybe all you Linux fans can't, but the MIS or IT who has to decide between doing work on Linux or getting a fat check from Microsoft for switching to NT can be. I can already name several game developers who've been offered six-figure "developer assistance" to switch their development away from Macs and SGI machines.
  • by aerobee ( 15844 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @10:03AM (#1885099)
    By NOT playing their game. Folks, we got where we are by doing things our own way. Once M$ gets you to play their game, you lose. Stop worrying, comparing, or competing. If Ghandi had ever started playing by the old empire rules, we wouldn't even had heard of him. Listen to Linus, he plays his own game with his own rules. M$ doesn't faze him, so it shouldn't faze us. Keep the faith folks, Linux Rules.
  • There's a common mistake around at techies and techie-companies (I count MS as a techie-company).
    The mistake is to belive that every company does think about IT a lot - this is wrong. Some IT's are in a horrible state.
    My company works for BIG companies and most of the people in the management haver NEVER heard anything about linux. There are just some pople in the IT department, but they have to buy what the managment tells them to. Often they themselves have no clue at all.
    And the managers often DON'T think about TOC, etc...
    So imagine the following dialog...

    MS-Guy: "Hello, today I want to tell you some bad facts about the Linux-OS."
    manager: "Ehm - Linux-OS?"
    MS-guy: "Yes, Linux, the so called free operating system.."
    manager: "Whaddaya mean, free?"
    MS-guy: "Yes, they say it's free, you can download it for free or buy for $1.99, but it's not free at all."
    manager: "You mean, no bucks for licenses?"
    MS-guy: "Yes, but it's not scalable, it's for small machines only - look, we have a benchmark on this 50000$ machine, and ..."
    manager: "Small machines? You mean we needn't to buy another big server for Win 2000 as a webserver? And it's really free?"
    MS-guy: "Yes, but ...."

    [1 hour later, managers office, IT-guy is there]

    manager: "Do you know linux, what is it? The MS-guy told me it's for free. Please find out some facts till tomorow."
    IT-guy: "well, eh, I'll see..."
  • tony@work> How could they do that? I proposed one
    tony@work> method: create a version of MS-Office
    tony@work> that will only run when a specific
    tony@work> library is installed, and make that
    tony@work> library available only with MS-Linux.
    tony@work> Since it is not part of the kernel,
    tony@work> they wouldn't have to release it as
    tony@work> free software.

    IIRC, GNU (w/ HURD) will (does?) only allow libre drivers. Does it have the same requirement for libraries? Perhaps RMS could just say "nothing proprietary may run on GNU at all, ever."

    This doesn't necessarily affect the Linux crowd (since Linux does, and will, tolerate proprietary software), but if all becomes embraced and extended in the Linux arena, moving to GNU wouldn't be that big of a jump. [This assumes, of course, that requirements on "no GNU distributions with proprietary stuff" could hold up in court.]

    But then again, would the "tying" thing really matter? Sure, most offices try to standardize on one OS (and thus probably one distro), but savvy users can get away with reinstalling a free distro, and avoiding use of non-free apps. (But then, goes the counter-argument, what if lots of proprietary stuff is tied together, so that MS-Word for Linux will only talk to MS-DNS for Linux routed through Windows NT Server for Linux...boy, proprietary software really is a trap.)

    I guess the only real solution is to 1) Teach people that being fucked over by the Man is bad, and 2) Teach people that the Man will only fuck them over if they let him. Don't buy proprietary OSes, try to talk your boss out of (perhaps unwittingly) standardizing on proprietary software.
  • What I mean by that is that I don't think everyone in the Linux community is completely satisfied with the software generated by others in the "Linux community"

    But that's the best part about it! :) If you're not satisfied, you can FIX IT. You definitely can't say that about Micros~1 products. Anything that's wrong with it, any features it doesn't have that you want, go ahead and add them! (And when you're done, please, pass them on for others to share).

    As for Outlook, we run Outlook here too and I get by just fine with Linux. Outlook supports web mail and POP3, but who cares anyway, Outlook sucks :)

    Don't complain about a lack of software, do something about it!

    The point the original poster is trying to make (I think) is that the current Linux community doesn't care about anyone who doesn't use Linux.

    This couldn't be further from the truth. We've got to stop looking at this through the same old models. This isn't a "I'm part of this group, and everyone else sucks" kind of a situation. We're not talking about mutually exclusive sets here. I think you should use whatever Operating System is best suited for your needs, and I would hope everyone shares that opinion.

    Anyway...My real point wasn't about what we have, it was about what we can do.
  • by adimarco ( 30853 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:29AM (#1885147) Homepage
    This is a very interesting move on Micros~1's part. Up until this point, they've always been competing with companies, tangible entities that can be defeated.

    Criticize us! Please! It only gives us ideas to better our software. Here's my impression of the situation:

    Micros~1: "Linux doesn't do this, and Linux doesn't support that."

    Linux Community: Gee, thanks for the ideas, we'll go add that now.

    The important thing to stress is that while Linux poses a threat to Micros~1, they can NEVER pose a threat to Linux. There's nothing to threaten. They can never take it away from us. They can never prevent us from doing what we want with it. We're not like a company, we can't go under, you can't take us to court, you can't DEFEAT us because there's nothing to defeat. Anything they can do we can do better and faster and cheaper, because we don't have a bottom line to worry about. All we need be concerned with is good software.

    We don't even have money to lose :) All we have is our code and our passion, and they can never take those away from us.
  • If I was on that "Linux Group", the first thing I would do is read slashdot!

    Believe you me, they will. And some of us will react by trying to hide what we are doing from Microsoft. The act of hiding stuff from Microsoft is what may kill Open Source (or at least maim it for a decade or two). Whether Microsoft understands this or not, I do not know.

    The chief difference between Microsoft and Linux development models is openness. One of the central theories of Open Source is that a million people, communicating for all the world to see via a medium that supports it, can outthink a thousand people sworn to secrecy.

    This isn't just Open Source theory, either; it's cryptography theory. The best cryptographic algorithms are published so that people can try to crack them. Only the keys are kept secret; the code itself is exposed to the light of day, and the attacks of thousands of professional crackers. A cracker from J. Random Big Software House, paid to verify the integrity of an encryption algorithm, can find a bug well before a criminal is likely to. The professional cracker finds the bug, others analyze it and release patches, and the cracker is again thwarted.

    Don't worry about Microsoft knowing the strategies of the Open Source movement; they will. We can't prevent that without secretive communications. Once we do that, we're playing the proprietary game, and we have lost. History will see OSS as an unworkably idealistic social theory, and the names of RMS and ESR will be hung up like that of Karl Marx.

    When I think of a strategy that Microsoft can use, I post it here so that the OSS can be prepared with a counterstrategy. Basically, I treat any possible Microsoft strategic attack as a bug in the Open Source movement. Sure, Microsoft will be able to see it.

    Big deal. I don't have enough ego to think that I can come up with many good anti-OSS strategies that they didn't. I'm not smart enough to give Microsoft a lot of good ideas.

    But every time I post a possible Microsoft strategy, thousands of Slashdotters see it. With enough eyes, all Microsoft strategies are counterable. I post Microsoft strategies because we can produce countermeasures faster than they can utilize the strategies.

    Post strategies that Microsoft can use. Post counterstrategies if you can come up with them. For God's sake, don't shut up! As the gay community taught the OSS community:

    Silence = Death

  • They would have to strangle it from the middle. Even the mighty MS can't enter the inner sanctum of the kernel without their offerings to Open Source.

    Assuming that the GPL stands, everything inside the kernel itself has to be copylefted. Applications don't have to be, as merely making system calls isn't considered "linking" for copyleft purposes. I don't know the rules concerning kernel "modules"; can somebody follow up with that?

    Pure kernel code, therefore, is fair game. If Microsoft wants to (say) add a Win32 ABI down there, it is copylefted or they are sued. We grab the Win32 ABI and clean it up. Linux: More Unix than Unix, More Windows than Windows.

    They could do something of this sort as a shared library, perhaps. If they simply did a Win32 ABI as a .so, then they would have a payware WINE. Whoop dee doo.

    For Microsoft to properly invade Linux, they would have to use proprietary ware. If they invaded with OSS, we would eat it and improve it. If they invade with closed source, they will probably do so at the .so layer. To do this, they would need to produce The Killer Feature. The feature would have to be instantly demanded by everybody, and impossible for the OSS community to match quickly. Anybody have ideas as to what that might be?

  • Methinks that Linux and the DOJ trial are in an interesting feedback loop.

    Linux has been ready for the "buzz explosion" for some time now. Microsoft went into the DOJ trial, nad has been failing miserably. They have needed to show that there is competition, that they are not a monopoly.

    I believe that tons of money got invested into Linux precisely because of the DOJ trial. Before this trial, nothing was keeping Microsoft from cutting off anybody who supported Linux.

    Now that the buzz is in full explosion, MS can show the DOJ that it is competition and attack it as such. Personally, I don't care how the trial goes; the fact that it happened at all has made the difference.

    Another side effect of the trial is that Microsoft is forced to spout the virtues of Linux to the courts to defend the theory that Linux is indeed a contender. They then have to turn around and tell the market that Linux is not a contender.

    With some money and some lawyers, Microsoft will start finding themselves back in court--for false advertising, slander, and/or perjury. You cannot lie under oath, you cannot make false claims in advertising, so contradicting your testimony with your marketing is a criminal offense of one sort or another.

    My question is, who has both the money and the motive to spend it on lawyers? Everybody seems to be investing in Red Hat, but I don't know their budgetary situation. IMHO, the best anti-FUD is to overturn said FUD in court.

    The trick is to keep Microsoft fighting fair. They win when they can operate unhindered by the law. They lose when the law catches up with them.

  • by remande ( 31154 ) <remande@@@bigfoot...com> on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:47AM (#1885154) Homepage
    2) Linux is cheaper, and runs on cheaper hardware.

    Watch out before you say this. MS can twist that around to "Linux is a cheap OS for cheap little jobs. Use NT to get real work done".

    Linux runs leaner than NT, and thus squeezes more out of your hardware. It can run on cheaper hardware than NT can even consider. The flip side is that, if you need to max out your capabilities, you can buy maximal hardware and use Linux to get performance that NT cannot meet with current technology.

    I bring to mind two recent benchmarks; the Mindcraft test and IBM's ray-tracing with Beowulf. In the former, NT outperformed Linux on the exact same hardware. This is not a big surprise, simply because a good NT box and a good Linux box aren't always the same. Slashdot was flooded with ideas on how to run Linux faster on less expensive hardware. Linux outperforms NT per hardware dollar, not necessarily on the same hardware configuration.

    With the IBM test, they took 17 machines worth a total of $150,000, installed Red Hat and Beowulf, and started doing ray-tracing calculations. The numbers escape me, but it effectively matched the speed of a Cray YMP costing $5.5M. I consider this a good definition of "high end computing". I pity the person who wants to do this with NT, at any price.

  • by spectecjr ( 31235 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @01:31PM (#1885157) Homepage
    Why bother? If anyone Microsoft employees are posting here, they should be indicating their identities as such.

    If they're not (and if you're an MS employee reading this who is posting without disclosing), then they should read their employee handbook and think long and hard about the bit where it says you HAVE to disclose your identity in online forums. And then think if they want to risk being fired or not.
  • I think it is very safe to assume that the number of eyes at Microsoft focused on Linux is much greater than twenty. These ten have the ability to marshall the forces of other groups, such as the Microsoft 'test labs'. In addition, it is an obvious assumption that this is only the early core of the group. Microsoft wanted to make a statement with that number because the true number would have been scary. Imagine the press release... "Microsoft unleashes two hundred against Linux!" Woo-hoo!

    A few random points...
    Documentation is going to help us out here, and I'm *not* talking about explaining the source code or the way the software works. Documenting our activities, and documenting theirs. The number of hours spent on the code, the number of individual bug fixed, the number of new features... they all provide powerful statistics which prove that the Bizaar has overwhelmed the Cathedral.

    Aside from documenting our activities, we need to document Microsoft's. When a software developer starts courting Linux does an about-face due to a Microsoft donation/investment, it needs to be recorded. One can imagine the powerful counter to a Microsoft announcement of 'victory' in a certain application field, when it is shown step-by-step the coersion that took place that is NOT related to the quality of the software and why people have chosen it.
    May the better PRODUCT win!

  • I have to wonder if Microsoft isn't trying to steer Linux in the wrong direction. At a time that Linux is focusing on the desktop, Microsoft pulls out a comparison of a top-end system with a really odd configuration (like the four 100baseT connections) and focus the conversation there.

    That is *NOT* the issue. High-end systems, while interesting, and good to tune for, may not be where Linux should be in the near-term.

    The _server_ battle is not won by getting a Linux server performing a major task at AT&T. While a nice feather in the cap, the battle is won (and the dollars are shifted) at the lower levels, where the everyday medium to small company is. And that's where Microsoft doesn't want Linux to be.

    Where Microsoft doesn't want Linux to be is *painfully* obvious -- the desktop. Microsoft knows that control of modern computing is centered around the desktop. This is where you can make and break standards. This is where you can impose the most leverage. (Sun knows this to, which is why they're trying to change the game to fat servers with thin clients.)

    Who knows? We may be seeing more high-end benchmarks down the road that are given by Microsoft to independent parties to run. The funny thing is that if you stack NT up to one of the mature commercial UNIX operating systems, NT falls short.

    Strange, isn't it? NT is utterly demolished at the high end. They've practically given away the low-end. They're trying to tell a story about the middle-high range, but they can't unless they pick what is currently the wrong competitor.

  • Actually, we have a site doing that already. www.linuxnewbie.org Look for hte NHFs (Newbieized Help Files)

  • by Gischer ( 33166 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:12AM (#1885176)
    It's always a serious mistake to underestimate the capabilities of your opponent. They aren't devoid of engineering talent, in spite of sneers on /. to the contrary. They have plenty of marketing smarts, and very deep pockets. Plus they'll be fighting for their survival, at least, the NT business will be. I'd have to say that Linux is still the underdog, though it has considerable assets too.
  • Nice. Looks like Microsoft is experiencing
    - Fear of the Mighty Penguin
    - Uncertainty about their future market share
    - Doubt in their ability to compete on a level (somewhat) playing field.

    So Linux is now a clear and present danger (like it wasn't before!). I suppose they hope that marketing will succeed where Software Engineering failed.

  • I'm sick of people saying that Linux has this problem or that problem 'cause it's SOOO hard to use, SOOO hard to configure, etc.

    The real troble with Linux is:


    ...and now it is going Commercial.

    The point of this is that people wrote Linux because they enjoyed writing it. This is the same reason that people work in their garden, build model railroads, rebuild old cars, or build model railroads. They never had to, nor should they have, business uses for it. Who cares!

    The real trouble is that Linux...the Hobbiest's OS...blows away so-called real-OS's on the lowest levels. The reason: OpenSource licensing, of course.

    Why is Win95/98 such a joke in comparison after spending so much effort on them? How about $100M going for advertising of the release of Win95 (aka MacOS '84 + multitasking...a mid-60's technology)!

    Why does the MacOS crash so much compared to Linux? Because Apple has to keep their API the same so that old apps still run (but it (8.0+) still crashes a lot less than Win95/98).

    The point is that Linux is not made to "compete" with anything, and MS attempts to throw FUD at it will not do much.

    I think the next home computers will be made by IBM with the advanced UI technology that they are working on...voice interaction, movement recognition, advanced AI, etc. and MS will be way behind. IBM will have so many patents on their technology that MS would have to buy them if they want it. Linux would be irrevelant in that market.

    The problem is that M$ and Apple OS's are founded on ancient technology...and so is Linux. (i.e. they all suck, but Linux sucks the least;-)
  • by Aiantes ( 35663 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:36AM (#1885187)
    Don't underestimate Microsoft; they can deploy some very smart people, if sufficiently concerned.

    They are now sufficiently concerned--the giant has awakened. Indeed, the point of this group will not be to generate FUD, as so many of you seem to be assuming.

    Has the Open Source Community imagined all the possible moves open to Microsoft?

    Have we any counter-strategies?

    Doubtless, Microsoft is already thinking three and four moves ahead.

    Let the game begin...
  • What if this team is not about to spread more FUD, but actually tries to get hardware vendors to support NON-standard protocols. Although this would be difficult to do, but this is the one area that FSF is vulnerable.

    If MS succeeds in making large numbers of hardware proprietary, this would hurt Linux and FSF. Yes we can always reverse engineer (if it is legal) but that takes time and in the business world, time matters.

    If this team is just spreading FUD, then I say "good". That would help more than hurt. But if they are going to come out with a plan to hide standards from FSF developers, and maybe even make it so that reverse-engineering is strictly prohibited, then we might have a problem.

    If I was on that "Linux Group", the first thing I would do is read slashdot!

  • by nevets ( 39138 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:17AM (#1885194) Homepage Journal
    MS setting up a team to combat Linux!
    War has been declared. The one thing that I don't think MS has realized yet, is that Linux is NOT a company. Sun, Netscape, IBM, and Apple, are all companies, where as, Linux is a community (although I will say Apple is close in this respect :). Linux can survive without businesses. And its roots are with the technical developers. Although management is MS focused, the real work is always done by techies. And that group favours the better OS. We don't like to have our hands held by a system. We want to control it!

    MS may convince management to watch out for those "Linux people" who will not play by the rules, but it's time that us techies start talking to our management. Make this an internal vs. external (Microsoft) battle. I've already have given two seminars on Linux that was focused towards management. I request others do the same.

    Call for arms here!

    P.S. This was always my signature, I didn't updated for this response, although I see others have this Ghandi quote....
  • >show me something that Linux can do that other OS's can't

    OK - I am a Linux newbie - struggling to break the bonds from M$. My first install happened to be on a laptop over a network connection to my Win95 machine. I had installed extra memory, and at the time I didn't know it, but the laptop was bad, and the extra memory would cause it to crash randomly (remove the memory, no more crashes - and it wasn't the memory, because I had the same memory installed in a different laptop, and it works fine). I began to _install_ Linux using a boot floppy - the install was going great, then the machine dumped - did the Linux based installer die? NO - it gracefully exited, giving me numerous (too numerous) information on why it exited, and shut down the system (very similar to the "shutdown -h now" command sequence) - the message was good enough for me to diagnose what had happened.

    I can only imagine what would have happened had it been Windoze (can you say blue screen?)...

    So what is the one thing that Linux can do that other OS's can't? Simple:

    It can't crash.

    Seriously - do I really think Linux can't crash? No - any OS on any machine CAN crash. Do I think that Linux crashes often (as often as my Win95 box)? Hell no! My own experiences and anecdotal stories refutes that!

    Just another Linux Newbie...
  • by Chmee ( 44971 ) on Friday May 21, 1999 @08:06AM (#1885204)
    I find it "interesting" that Microsoft is telling the world about this group, and even supplying quotes from the team leader to the press...

    I think that Microsoft is happy as hell at this point to see Linux pop up, because they need something to point to for competition in their antitrust suit - it's still going on, you know!

    They've been clutching for something to call competition - Paul Maritz is quoted as saying under oath that AbiSource's word processor, AbiWord, is competition for MS Word, even though it's still WAY beta and not fully functional.
  • Who will Microsoft Fight? As M$ itself has agreed they have to fight the process, not a company. It is going to be Gulliver against thousands of Liliputs. He can never win.

    The key areas for battle are going to be Training, becos if you look at the early success of Unix (I am not suggesting that it is not now) it was becos of its free availability in the campuses across the world. Linux too has to be omnipresent in all the teaching places in the world. All students should learn Linux first. Linux and maybe Windows. In such a scenario the weakness of NT will automatically surface. Also people will start wondering why they should pay for NT when Linux is free.

    Linux will not need a voice. Linux will be the voice - the voice of conscience. Let us ensure that the next generation of students across the world know Linux before they actually come to work and see OSes like NT. They will laugh Nt out of the market. Meanwhile let us counter the NT threat by ensurign the one more college or school installs Linux to learn all about operating systems and applications. For evey threat one school. For every bug in NT one person (that itself should cover the world including bugs)

    This will also mean training and certification courses which will help people. And please dont have exams like the MCP exams by Sylvan Prometric. The easiest exam to pass is the MCP in NT. I have seen (I am not kidding) people who have not seen the NT OS who can write and pass the exam. People in my country have mastered the system of exam passing by going thru braindumps.

    We need more poeple who can conduct training programs on Linux. LUGs should take a more active role now to counter. LUGs should adopt and help schools, universities and colleges.

BLISS is ignorance.