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Microsoft

Linux Jobs at Microsoft: PR Rep 137

Adam Cody wrote in to note that this job on Microsoft's web site. It's a marketing position and the responsibilities include a competitive analysis of Linux. Should I apply?
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Linux Jobs at Microsoft: PR Rep

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  • I for one, think it would be a GOOD thing if MICROS~1 added Linux features like reliability, portability, efficiency, low-cost, responsiveness to customer concerns, and quality-control by massive peer review to NT.

    Here's my peer review of the reliability of the job search page:

    Microsoft VBScript runtime error '800a000d'

    Type mismatch: 'cInt'

    /jobs/search/viewJobs.asp, line 283

    --Maybe its just my browser?
  • If you look many months back, I think Nick Petreley (sp?) wrote a series of articles analyzing the architectural failures of NT for the grand finale of NC World. (Someone wrote such articles, but I could be wrong who did. Too lazy to search back. :)

    Without a complete rewrite and restructuring, NT will NEVER be able to adopt many of Linux's best features, especially in the multiuser arena.

  • Normally the "MS-Linux" posts here on slashdot read like paranoid ramblings from an AC, but you actually have a pretty well thought out scenario.

    But step back a minute and put yourself in Bill Gates' or Steve Ballmer's shoes...

    You have been promising your customers certain features such as a directory system, distributed storage, and automatied administration/installation for 5 or 6 years. You've been trying to move the customer base away from their reliance on legacy hardware, software, and drivers and move them to a more stable and modern OS foundation. You've invested milions of dollars in new client and server applications that will take advantage of these operating system features.

    All of your plans have been completely public, although you've been lying out your ass about the delivery date for years. Now, you just got a solid beta out the door, and it looks like you are about 3-6 months away from delivering on your plans. The press is ready. The user base is more than ready (so much so that some of them have started to fiddle with unix in their spare time).

    And you are going dump and discredit all of the millions of dollars and thousands of man years that you have sunk into Windows 2000 with some secretly-developed, bastardized "MS-Linux" that will neither work well nor integrate at all with the rest of your products?

    Even in the depths of all of your Slashdot-induced paranoias are you people really willing to buy this?

    Microsoft didn't get where they are by being dopes and changing course when the wind starts blowing a different direction. If Linux becomes a real threat to them, they could cut their prices tomorrow (instead of raising them as they have been), rather than wait *years* in order to transition to Linux/Unix. (Apple bought NeXT in 1997 and still is selling MacOS.)


    --
  • The marketing job is only one of two Linux jobs at Microsoft. Perform a keyword search for "linux" using their job search engine. The second job is in their "Developer Group." The job title is "Software Test Engineer," and the relevant line is:

    Qualifications should include: familiarity with a variety of computer hardware configurations, Internet browsers, and operating systems (Microsoft Windows as well as Apple OS, Unix, or Linux); and a minimum of 1 year testing experience.
  • The existence of an M$ Competitive Analysis department has nothing to do with whether or not they try to improve their core product. You think they don't have enough money to spread between development and business support functions? I work in Competitive Intelligence/Analysis, and my department falls under the Marketing Department. Our aims are not to spew misinformation or FUD about our competitors based on what we've learned about them...it is to learn about our competitors to stay ahead of them through changes in our business strategy (if warranted). Before making pricing changes or new product offerings, we need to know both the overall market and the specifics of what our competitors are doing. Have they gained an edge through introducing a business practice we haven't thought of? Or did they flop with trying something we were about to try, too? These are the reasons we analyise our competitors. My department's "customers" are senior execs, ones calling the shots...not the public consumer. We aren't releasing what we know of the market to John Q. Public. Our goal is not to "sabotage" the name and reputation of our competitors. Sometimes we need to have this information to reply to reporters who are calling to do a story. This is the PR element. Although I don't trust M$ in this Linux endeavor, it makes perfect sense from a business perspective. Unfortunately, we've seen that M$ ethics include lying and disparaging the competition through lies. But I'm sure the Linux position is a drop in the bucket in their CI budget.
  • Gee, where did I hear exactly these points before.
  • Oops. My bad. I meant "competitive analysis when complete".

    Or "complete analysis" or "analysis when complete".
  • While I certainly accept your right to choose a Microsoft operating system, I can't say that I quite understand it.

    You suggest that the reason you had to reboot the system the last time was because a WinAmp plugin started acting up. For myself, I would find it unacceptable to use an Operating System that ALLOWS such an application to do such a thing.

    The reality is... I don't use Linux because I dislike Microsoft. I don't use Linux because I find Microsoft's business tactics reprehensible. I use Linux because It is reliable... It is fast even on my P120... It supports my hardware flawlessly (3Com ethernet/USR modem are better supported under Linux than under Win95)... It provides an ideal development environment... It is open source so problems are fixed quicker and cheaper... It has a rational method of dealing with shared libraries so that I don't need to reboot to install software... It's user interface is customizable and replaceable... It's modularly designed, separating interface from kernel... It supports well developed industry standards... It comes with most of what I need to do my job (I don't have to buy a separate compiler/web server/database/word processor/etc.)... It has all of the expected features of a modern operating system (including file level security, memory protection, preemptive multitasking, virtual memory)... It is compatible with numerous other operating systems in basic networking services (Samba,NFS,Appletalk,etc...)... It is compatible with numerous other operating systems' file systems (NTFS,HPFS,FAT16,FAT32,AFS,...)... Development and design direction is dictated by the users...

    That said, I understand that to some people the most important feature of an operating system (or anything else for that matter) is market share. I don't share this view, but I will welcome and help you over to Linux when the time comes.
  • I wouldn't mind seeing Age of Empires on linux
  • Theory #1: they need more people because they think they are not quite up to the task with the current number.

    ..or...

    Theory #2: they need other people because they think they are not quite up to the task with the current people, i.e. they are not good enough at it.

    Either way, this sounds like good news for us! ;-)
  • I wonder if it will be anything like Mindcraft's "competitive analysis" of Linux. :)

    Lord help us all..

    Bowie
  • This looks like a job position for someone who watches a specific product, and advises various departments on how to market against it. I'm sure they have an OS/2 Product Manager, a WordPerfect Product Manager and so on. Here's the full text of the job description:

    PRODUCT MANAGER [Job Code: N05rc-e3]
    Division: Windows Marketing & Developer Relations
    Primary responsibilities include competitive analysis of Linux, both for providing product planning for the development team and for technical assistance to Microsoft's sales force. This is a key position within Microsoft, and very high visibility, both within and outside the company. Qualifications include very strong technical skills in both Unix and Windows NT and excellent writing skills. Some PR and sales or marketing experience would be helpful. A Master's or Bachelors in business administration is desirable.

    With bits like "Competetive Analysis" and "Technical Assistance to Microsoft Sales Force", it sounds a lot more like they want someone to figure out the dirt on Linux in detail, and brief their sales staff on how to sell against it.

    Not how it doesn't say that this is a development posistion. The bit is "Product Planning for the Development Team", that could easily be along the lines of "if IIS had this feature, it would help us gain market share from Apache", and "if NT shipped with this utility, we'd have a better standing against Linux in the server room".

    If Microsoft were truly looking to start Linux development, there would be more than two job openings with Linux as a keyword (the other is making sure the MSDN website works from various OS's, including Linux).
  • This is a great way to hurt them in court. Court testimony, if proven false, is perjury. Advertised claims on your own product, if proven false, are false advertising. Nasty claims on somebody else's product, if proven false, are slander.

    Microsoft needs to talk out of both sides, both in realms where lying is illegal. This means that every contradiction they make renders them civily or criminally liable.

    I am not a fan of using lawyers (I consider them the last resort), but this is an industry of lawyers, simply because of copyright law. If we watch for their slip-ups, and Linux companies call them to legal task for it, we can get some really good PR.

    If Microsoft tells the courts that Linux is a competitor because it has X (general X, not the windowing system), and then tells the PHBs that Linux doesn't have X, you can either send a Microsoft witness to jail (perjury) or force them to publicly retract the statement saying that Linux doesn't have X. That is the sort of embarrassment that Microsoft cannot afford.

  • Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    The GPL.

    I love the power, reliability, flexibility, cost and ease of use (seriously) of Linux.

    But the best part is the freedom. Unfortunately this crucial feature is being left out of the discussion far too often by business-oriented people and groups.

    Linux is a hobby. It just happens to be better than many commercial/proprietary systems. Enough better that many business have been built on its foundation.
    --
    "Please remember that how you say something is often more important than what you say." - Rob Malda
  • Damm!
    Even the people at Microsoft get to use Linux. Where I work I'm stuck using Windows NT!



  • by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @12:40PM (#1871645)
    Inquiring minds want to know:

    Did Vinod V. meet with an untimely end?
    Did he succumb to the 'seductions' of Open Source and turn to the Light Side?
    Or has he been banished for his part in an embarrasment to M$?
  • Wouldn't that be like dropping a bomb from the inside? that could be good.

    But wouldn't you feel guilty about working for the evil empire in the meantime? Seriously though, it seems as though gates has intentions to have that person do nothing more than provide information in order to beat linux. I think that whoever does this position will eventually become the hatred of the Linux Scene
  • Look for it on the shelves in October.

    October? I heard that MS was shipping it now [microsoff.com].

  • It's black and white.

    Microsoft want to make it gray.

    Many new users couldn't tell the difference and some old would move to proprietry if it's better.

    Linux relatively lacking user friendly applications (and installations) is probably Microsoft's best alli, and so the race begins.

    Hold me mummy,

    Little Stalker Boy [chunk.com], he's just misunderstood.

  • "is there any Microsoft stuff you would like to see on Linux? I'd like to hear answers for that one. :)"

    well, yes: Age of empire

    It's a great game edited by Microsoft and this would do on more game for Linux.
  • by Benjamin Shniper ( 24107 ) on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @01:16PM (#1871650) Homepage
    And you will come through a thousand battles unscathed. -Sun Tzu

    The job post seems harmless enough, but it is, alas, the middle steps in their embrace and extend policy for shutting Linux out of the operating system market.

    In a business environment where reading Sun Tzu is required, this shows how deeply the warrior philosophy is engrained. They are seeking knowlege of the strengths and weaknesses of Linux. They wish to find these so they can integrate the strengths into the next version of NT, while using the weaknesses to destroy Linux vendors. They are not afraid of lengthenning the NT code base to get what they want - if there are features in Linux that aren't in NT, then they will publicly praise these features. If there are weaknesses in Linux that aren't in NT, then they will publicly praise
    NT. They do not praise Linux, or Apache (as Ballmer was accused of doing) but instead the features.

    My friends, features can be stolen. They have all the money in the world to steal features with.

    They will tell the poor sap who takes this job that they are trying to improve NT by adding Linux-like features. They will tell themselves that. But their vision of a single OS for everything is more important than the methods used to achieve it.

    This person they wish to hire is the middle step in the chain to deflating the Linux user base. They will use this person to take all the features in Linux that can be taken and put them into NT. And then they will use this person to say "Look, Linux is now not as good as this thing me and Bill Gates have made: Windows 2002; Linux + Windows" This is exactly how they attacked Java, OS/2, Macintosh, and others.

    -Ben Shniper
  • Keeping in mind that my comments were just wild speculation, I suppose if Microsoft went ahead with creating their own distribution, the distro couldn't take precedence over Windows NT. They would probably place it somewhere between Windows 98 for the desktop and NT for the bigger jobs (since they've been pushing NT for the enterprise for a while now). They might suggest Linux for simple domain controllers, file servers and whatnot...although it might conflict with NT Server.

    Wherever they placed it, it would always be the "second-class" solution...like giving you kids to your cousin Barney for babysitting.

    Then again, the more I think about it, the more I think's it's just some simple app that I've blown out of proportion. That product is probably just Internet Explorer 5.x for Linux. They already have IE for Mac and Solaris and other Unix flavours. Or maybe it's a Barney the Dinosaur toy for Linux...

    Here's a question: is there any Microsoft stuff you would like to see on Linux? I'd like to hear answers for that one. :)
  • The job seems to have been taken down: anyone got a sceenshot of the page?
    --

    Barry de la Rosa,
    Senior Reporter, PC Week (UK)
    Work: barry_delarosa[at]vnu.co.uk,
    tel. +44 (0)171 316 9364
  • I'm guessing it's more like they want someone who can convince the DOJ that Linux is an emerging technology and a threat to their monop^H^H^H^H^Hhard-fought and constantly threatened competetive advantage, while at the same time convincing the PHB's that Linux is crap and they'd be insane to run enterprise applications on it.

    Or, to put it another way, they need someone who can talk out of both sides of their ass. :-)

    "Waiter! This food sucks! And the portions are too small!"
    ----------------------

  • Indeed, Rob -- although you are a Linux advocate, I do not believe your objectivity has been called into question. And you certainly have the technical skills necessary.

    Although "Rob Malda, Microsoft P.R. rep" really fails to roll off the tongue.
  • by Dr. Ed ( 2072 )
    I agree with you that it would be a mistake for MS to release an inferior distro. The danger is that they could release a good distro with MS Office for Linux bundled with it. They're working on a port. The current Linux faithful wouldn't give it the time of day but it would suck in all the newbies wanting to try out Linux but who want to keep their familiar MS Office environment. Once they built a user base then it's divide and conquer time a'la Java. Not to mention inserting some of their proprietary standards and even more MS only apps along the way. They'd probably make a lot of money on it too. More than they do off WIN98. They could also point to it and say "See we're not so bad. We support Linux too" and would fool a significant number of even the Linux faithful -- certainly the clueless press. Might even help them with the DOJ. A Linux-friendly MS is a worse case scenario to me.
  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @09:42PM (#1871659) Journal

    Not that I disbelieve you, but when someone posts "I see BSOD's with NT all the time" without posting specific STOP messages or some indication of what is going on, I'm inclined to right it off as Linux advocacy at it's worst, or maybe if I'm charitable, just someone whose confused NT with 95.

    Think if somone posted "Linux Kernel PANICS for me all the time!" You wouldn't give it much thought unless they had some specific debugging info.
    --
  • I must say this is the biggest load of irrelevance I have seen since I last turned on my TV..
    I see BSOD's with NT all the time.. I have been running linux and my system has NEVER crashed; however, X did restart one time while running gnome.
    Disregarding hardware failures [which cause both NT and Linux to crash], I've had three bluescreens in three years on my NT box. So what? Some people have no probs with NT but have probs with Linux, and vice versa.
    And I don't reboot unless I upgrade my kernel (which unfortunatly is a rare occurance), when was the last time you upgraded your NT kernel?? Shows you how fast NT is developing.
    The time between kernel updates isn't a direct indicator of development. For example, perhaps MS like to make sure their new kernel is stable [and necessary] before they release it, something which has not happened with a few Linux kernel releases. Also, how many features of the new kernel releases do *you* use that weren't there in previous kernels? None, perchance?
    My school uses NT on their networks, perhaps its the stupid system admins, but the security is HORRIBLE. The bios restricted boot from removeable media, however NT was installed on fat16 and a simple edit of boot.ini with the proper bootimage and command.com (and other dos files), I had a fully bootable dos extention to the boot manager which I used to grab the password file and gained admin on the entire network. Lets see a properly secured Linux machine get fscked that bad.
    Let's see a properly secured NT system get fscked that bad. You've just told us your school doesn't know how to set up NT securely. Now what's their IP address? :]
    True, the system should have used NTFS, but unfortunatly NTFS is slower then fat16,
    I find NT to run much faster when installed on NTFS than on FAT16
    When is NT gonna come with a compiler, non-qbasic script interpretor (such as perl, python, tcl). How about a fully functional firewall.
    Feel free to install any of these tools. microsoft.com has a great page with loads of useful free NT software. You seem to be hassling Windows because it doesn't come with all the tools you want already installed. Yet Windows gets hassled for coming with Internet Explorer already installed....
    How great do you think IIS is ?? Even MS admits that it blows chunks.. it killed at rendering my page littered with Server Side Includes...
    URL for this MS admission please? Apache didn't display my ASP page very well, gee, Apache is awful. [That was sarcasm, BTW]
    Get a life, get real.. NT is going out and Unix (probally Linux) is going in.
    Being a linux geek means you have a life? :] Why do you think NT is going out?
    My entire FAMILY uses my linux-equipped computer fine, and understands it better then any Nt machine
    So they've learned to use Linux rather than NT. How does this mean Linux is better?
    (however my dad still can't operate the login screen for NT)
    He must be pretty stupid then, since it's a matter of pressing a few keys and typing in the username/password. Or are you saying that he is unable to understand a GUI?
    I have thrown every configuration possible at this computer, moving from console to X with fvwm2 to fvwm95 ... [guff deleted]
    And?
    If Windows has it, Linux has it.. faster, prettier, and with a simplier interface (on a properly configured system)
    'Faster' is still debatable (for example, IE5 on my NT box runs a hell of a lot faster than Netscape on my flatmat's RedHat box). 'prettier' is in the eye of the beholder (I like my background picture) and I find NT simpler to use (probably because I'm more used to it and DOS)
    Btw.. how much did you pay for your software? haha
    I've gotten my money's worth out of it, as far as I am concerned Now I'm just waiting for them to port Linux to that leech computer...

  • 4) Make the code buggy, bloated, and unstable so that people will use Linux instead.

    Oh wait... too late.
  • At least there's one other clear-headed individual around here. I refuse to subscribe to the pro-Linux propaganda just because Microsoft is a huge company.

    I'm sorry, not trying to flame here... But then why are you here at all?

    I mean, the site says, news for nerds, but this is obviously a very anti-windows, pro-unix and free software site. In what way would you benefit from reading this site at all unless it involved flaming the zealots?

    And you know what I think is hilarious? I think in a lot of ways, the posts have gotten quite a bit more mature from what they were a year ago, especially during all of the KDE/GNOME crap.

    A lot of people are working harder out there to create more informative and useful postings, and I honestly can't see how anyone could complain too much, when all they have to do is adjust the threshold to a higher number... No moderator is perfect, but you're going to seriously raise the signal to noise ratio by setting it to 2 or 3 if the topic is sensetive.

    -Erik-

  • Buy more crack.
    --
  • I believe if this happens, Microsoft will work on the Wine project to accept binary modules (if not make them binary kernel modules) to allow linux to run Win32 apps flawlessly (or as good as Win32 apps can get)
  • . IIS is perfectly fine server and when NT itself is not sick, performs very well
    well not quite correct. i've been using a very fine program from a top rate company [safileup.com] (no i dont work for them, but they deliver a technically good product.) that allows file uploads via http using asp, iis and nt. they found a problem, tried to patch it, but the real problem is the iis4 server itself.

    the folowing articles tell the real story...
    • the documented
    • problem/solution [softartisans.com] - ocassional 100% cpu utilisation
      the cause, ms iis/nt [microsoft.com]. when are they going to fix it?

    the patch is applied (sa isapi fix & ms sp5), but the problem remains. now with apache i could put a message with a news group, locate the problem, fire up the compiler and fix it instead of waiting for a ms repsonse to the bug.
  • What's wrong with Mindcratf analysis. I thought it was colaborated by another round of tests by others . Was it not ?
  • I heard it's spiked with a mind control drug, and it's really the basis for that old movie "THEY LIVE" by John Carpenter!

    Fear the penguin...
    ;)
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @12:26PM (#1871669) Homepage Journal
    OK, they want someone to help them tell the public why to use NT instead of Linux. Don't we have enough people telling everyone why to use Linux instead of NT?

    This is not to say that I approve of all of the various unfair Microsoft strategies, including writing FUD. But doesn't every company say why you shouldn't use their competition?

    Bruce

  • by Anonymous Coward
    That MS search page can be hacked quite easily, so it seems, so you can monitor all the searches that people are executing. Just keep reloading the following URL [microsoft.com] (or perform your own search, get a URL, then just keep reloading it). Every few minutes the search parameters change by magic ... apparently from other searches people are going.

    Now remind me never to use a MS ``product'' ...

  • When you say you rebooted once in the last month, does that mean the computer was running without being shutdown the rest of the time?

    A major part of my summer job is to do intranet development on NT servers. Properly configured or not, it's hard for me to imagine that if you did serious work that you didn't have to reboot more often (or turn on/off the computer daily), especially if you run hefty games (ie StarCraft) on the same machine. This is from my personal experience.

    I've been hacking on (and inside) Microsoft operating systems for the longest time and have only been using Linux for a few years. You can only stand to learn a lot from using Linux. I know I have. Don't let the super-deluxe pro-Linux comments dissuade you.

    --Andy.
  • No.

    (there is a Perl util called the `demoroniser' which will fix `moronised' web pages...)
  • Microsoft Linux Distribution.

    Look for it on the shelves in October.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Check out:
    http://www.microsoft.com/jobs/search/jobDetail.a sp?fromPage=viewJobs&jobNumber=17636&page= 1&msid1=1763702557&msid2=300880339&msid3=-13965064 96&msid4=1607985518
    They need Web Developers with perl, freebsd, apache, cvs, etc etc experience. not NT :)

  • Looks like they want someone to provide them with ammo against Linux. Maybe you can go there and tell them they have no hope, but that wouldn't look to good in an interview. =)
  • Unlike most linux evangelists. Some of us who live with both Windows and Linux or maybe just Windows want to see both sides of the coin.
    A lot of linux weenies are college students who have only seen Unix (Torvalds for example) and no Windows, and they continue to spout crap about how NT crashes etc without having *tried* NT. Torvalds is especially guilty of claiming not to use Windows, but then harrasses the hell out of Windows, Microsoft and Gates. If Linux is so good - why does he need to attack Windows (a product he knows little about)? Pretty sad.

    I enjoy surfing microsoft websites, especially msdn.microsoft.com - but i also enjoy surfing linux sites like slashdot.

    It's called an open mind.
  • So, what you're saying is that I can only be a true nerd if don't use Windows? Give me a break. I go to Caltech, probably the nerdiest school in the country (we had Bill Nye the Science Guy as our commencement speaker last year), and I'm an Applied Math major, which is basically a CS degree with a lot more math.

    Not all of the articles posted on Slashdot are specifically about Linux, and most of them have at least some relevance to my life. I don't read everything, just the stuff I'm interested in. I usually read stuff relating to Microsoft, because I like to see people complain about it.

    Try reading everything with an open, unbiased mind, and you'd be amazed how much crap gets posted.

    -ElJefe

    Oh, and not to be picky, but address that you have listed as your homepage is down. Perhaps a different web server (or OS) would help (heh heh)
  • I went to print out the job listing in Netscape, and got this error on the paper my laserjet spit out.

    Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80040e14'

    [Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver][SQL Server]Line 1: Incorrect syntax near ','.

    /jobs/search/jobDetail.asp, line 24

    Ironic, eh?

  • I interned at Lucent doing competitive analysis.

    Everything I wrote or did became Lucent proprietary information. I'm sure this will be the same - We'll only see it if someone leaks it illegally.
  • erm....*shiver*
    the mere though of winux makes me wanna puke.
    in my opinion microsoft is the major barrier on computer development today....everyone tried to build to their products, which are all so wonderfully buggy that no one can REALLy release anything worthwile.
  • If that's what you've got planned for the job interview, you've got the job already. Go for it, and whenever you're ready you can turn your real opinions loose (the ones that accurately reflect the state of computing today as Microsoft fails to recognize). I've gotta say that's the farthest I've seen anyone stretch the truth for a job, though. You might want to take out the part about rebooting when a sound plug-in went weird. Everyone knows a simple plug-in can't take down an operating system unless it's from--nevermind, I forgot what we were working with. :)

  • by Grenamier ( 12799 ) on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @10:01PM (#1871684)
    Thanks for the reply, maynard. I feel kind of honoured that you spent so much time on my comment. :)

    Grenamier makes the point that Microsoft could create their own distribution of Linux with a proprietary Win32 kicker...How different is this from Corel using Linux as a vector to market their proprietary Corel Office software?

    Good question. On fourth thought, there isn't much difference, especially since Corel has already composed its own distribution. OTOH, I do think there's a slight difference in that it's in Corel Office's best interests to have Linux stay free and open and carrying along as it has. Microsoft would be interested in having Linux development slow down or be influenced to allow Microsoft more control over its direction.

    That said, I don't want people to get the idea that I'm really anti-Microsoft. At home I run Windows 98, Windows NT and Linux (on a separate computer). I'd prefer to have NT and Linux both succeed. Linux really is something special though, and I don't to see anything badly interfering with it.

    Even though the premise is good, there are some fundamental mistakes of fact which ought to be resolved:

    Thanks for clearing up these things for me. I should've known better on a lot of them.

    Trying to steal Linux technology for NT? Perhaps, but they wouldn't need to sell a product of their own for that.
    [snip] But they can't "Steal" something out in the open like a GPL'd package, so I don't know what you mean by that.


    Some of the previous replies speculated that Microsoft might be looking for features of Linux to steal for NT. I was deciding that it wouldn't be a good enough reason to build a distribution. As far as "stealing" goes, I hadn't thought much about it, I suppose stealing from free-software could be burying GPL'ed code in a closed-source product and ignoring the GPL's terms.

    No. I've got a couple problems with this. First, USB support is already in active development, as is NTFS support in the kernel [...] that point is moot.

    I should've remembered this, but I was only tossing out ideas on how Microsoft might have wanted to candy-coat the distribution for new users coming from Windows.

    [...] What this means for Microsoft is that they will never control the momentum of kernel development unless they're willing to attempt a legal attack against the GPL; though that may well be in their interest.

    It would be unlikely for Microsoft to attempt something like that for a while until people have gotten used to the notion of a Microsoft distribution and some of their lawyers get some vacation time. :)

    OK. More problems of minor ignorance. First of all, if MS were to release a proprietary Win32 widget library, this would be no different from The OpenGroup with their Motif product line, or Troll Tech with their previous QT-1.x product line. In both cases each company has (and had) every legal right to sell a proprietary binary only software package which could not only cost to develop for, but could even cost just to use in runtime licensing fees!

    If these guys get to play that game, then certainly Microsoft can. The GPL only covers software which can be thought to derive from a previously GPL'd source base. For example, if I create a source tree completely by scratch the GPL has nothing to say about what kind of license I distribute under. But if I derive an offshoot from a previously GPL'd program, say my own special version of GNU ls, and I distribute this code in binary form for either free or for charge, then I must also offer to distribute source, and I can't prevent the recipient from also distributing either the binary or the source.


    I made a bad assumption here. I thought Microsoft would need to modify the kernel and a lot of the system software in order to create a UI with the same infrastructure and integration with the system as the Explorer UI on Windows. Of course, WINE, GNOME and KDE show that such changes wouldn't really be necessary. Duh on me.

    [...] But baring such a casastrophic -- and unlikely -- outcome, we should expect that even if Microsoft released the most popular distribution of Linux, with all sorts of proprietary and expensive add ons to run commercial MS software, plenty of people will still just tinker around and maintain their own special Linux flavors. Do you really think Debian would go away? Not even if Caldera, Suse, and RedHat were flattened by the MS steamroller could they stop the Debian project without a Legal or Congressional victory (heh, maybe a bullshit Free Software Tax Act, that might make for good assault legislation against free software and is right up this congresses alley). Just like MS can't prevent end developers from creating a quality stable kernel and giving that away for free, they can't prevent a bunch of developers and end users from collecting a bunch of free software, creating a usable Linux distribution, and giving that away for free.

    Quite true. But I'm not really concerned that other distributions could become extinct, more that Microsoft could influence Linux development in ways that don't really benefit Linux. For instance, I wouldn't want to see Linux catch a case of creeping featuritis that somehow spreads into the kernel. In theory, Linus and the people who work on the code would be able to avoid such a thing simply by saying no, but what if in the future a large number of users demand feature after feature after feature to be added to parts of Linux that have a wide impact? A compromise here, a lapse there and suddenly the kernel is growing or becoming buggier, perhaps...certainly we can live without MS Office (actually, I really like Word and Outlook on NT), but I hope most of the future's changes to Linux can be of the take-it-or-leave-it variety.

    I get paranoid about good things that become too popular. Like this great seafood restaurant I know that's kind of gotten crappy since it suddenly started becoming "cool". With all the masses of people expecting things now, now now, there just isn't as much care taken in the food as there used to be. Now it tastes the same as all the other restaurants and it's hard to find a reason to pick this one over the others. I don't have to eat the new dishes that they serve now, but I want my old fried lobster back the way it was before.

    I've snipped a lot of what you wrote, most of which I haven't marked. Not to ignore it, but because I agreed and I didn't have anything to add. I probably didn't add much here anyway. :) Even so, thanks for setting me straight on a few things...I should be more careful.
  • a) After another day of befuddled users and broken Windows, the slashdotter comes to the conclusion that the best way to bring down Microsoft is from the INSIDE... BWAHAHAHA!!

    b) Evil spirits summon his keyboard and his cyberspace travels take a wrong turn. In a frantic attempt to return to the true reality, the slashdotter pleas with the spirits to allow him to post on slashdot. Seeing no harm in this, they allow it, thinking Rob will *never* let such a comment get through. CmdrTaco saves the day... and you know the rest of the story.

    c) The slashdotter's nephew, a BSBA, discovers the slashdotter's bookmark that automatically logs him in and thinks he has outhacked the slashdotter. He reports of the job opening, which he intends to take for himself, as a way to further glorify himself. He gets the job and spends the rest of his life writing fearfully uncertain and doubtful material. Microsoft OWNS him.
  • Maybe it would be the straw that convinces them to ditch NT :-)

    --
  • by gavinhall ( 33 )
    Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    Is this supposed to be frightening? If so, why? Linux is still GPL'd so no danger there. And MS would only be admitting defeat by releasing their own distro--they'd be a laughingstock.

    If you are more machiavellian you may be thinking "Yeah, but what if they purposely make a low quality distro to make Linux look bad?"

    First of all, creating a distro from scratch for the express purpose of failing? That sounds like a lot of work for not much gain.

    Secondly, all they would do is make themselves look bad. The first thing even the most clue-lacking techno-journalist would do is compare MSLinux to RedHat and Caldera. If MS is making a purposely lame distro they would fail fail fail. New slogan "Microsoft can't even make OTHER PEOPLE'S software work right."

    And the last point: I seriously doubt MS has the developers to spare to make their own Linux distro. They are all too busy on [Win|Y]2k.
    --
    "Please remember that how you say something is often more important than what you say." - Rob Malda

  • "is there any Microsoft stuff you would like to see on Linux? I'd like to hear answers for that one. :)"

    And I forgot: drivers for their joysticks/mouses/other hardwares. I think Microsoft do good Hardware products.
  • 1) He's looking to go in as a spy

    or

    2) He works in MS personnel, but happens to be a linux lover, it's just his day job

    or

    3) Know your enemy
    --
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And of course, NT has just as many areas (probably more) where it does poorly and where Linux excels. NT cannot do something as simple as assign an IP address to a NIC from DHCP while also aliasing the NIC with a static IP address. I don't see any NT clusters on the TOP500 super computing list either.
  • At least there's one other clear-headed individual around here. I refuse to subscribe to the pro-Linux propaganda just because Microsoft is a huge company.

    I personally am running dual boot NT/98 here at school. I've got IIS, SET@Home, WinAmp, Netscaoe, IE5, Visual C++, JDK, and StarCraft all running flawlessly on it. I've had to reboot ONCE in the last month, and that was when a WinAmp plug-in started acting funky. I had plenty of experience running an NT network as a job last summer, so I knew how to configure this system when I got it. Properly done, NT works great.

    Now, I'm not saying that Microsoft (or its products) are perfect. What I'm saying is that they work damn well for what I need. If Linux works better for you, that's fine. But you should get all worked up just because Microsoft is trying to protect itself financially.

    -ElJefe

  • > And you are going dump and discredit all of the
    > millions of dollars and thousands of man years
    > that you have sunk into Windows 2000 with some
    > secretly-developed, bastardized "MS-Linux" that
    > will neither work well nor integrate at all with
    > the rest of your products?

    > Even in the depths of all of your Slashdot
    > induced paranoias are you people really
    > willing to buy this?

    Yes. I will now explain what is (in my mind, anyways) the greatest Embrace - and - Extend trick ever.

    First, let's have possible Microsoft spin of it's "Latest Linux-based product," Which I will call Windows LX.

    ***
    Ladies and Gentlemen, Microsoft Corp. has joined with the Open Source revolution to bring you Windows LX, a combination of the power and stability of the Open-Source Linux platform, with Traditional Microsoft ease-of-use.

    This product will be the first in a line of products designed to bring the benefits of internet technology and Open source to Microsoft customers. We will continue the Microsoft tradition of innovation and quality through the integration of Linux into your Windows experience.

    Internet Explorer will still be integrated into your system, giving you the fully internet-based experience that you enjoyed with Windows 98 and 2001, and you will soon be able to run legacy Windows and MS-DOS applications through the Microsoft Compatibility Layer, coming soon in a Service Pack update, available free from the Microsoft home-site.

    Also, anyone familiar with Linux and UNIX will find that they will be able to run their legacy applications on Microsoft Windows LX with little modification, as Microsoft has developed a series of tools to mimic the archaic UNIX system tools, while providing further integration into Windows LX features.

    We at Microsoft are hoping that through this offer, we can provide proof that Microsoft is willing to open up to the community, and continue to innovate, while bringing ease-of-use features to Linux.
    ***

    Scary thought, eh?

    Okay, here's the reason that this *CAN* come to pass:

    Linux is simply a kernel, a mass of system calls and drivers.

    We, as a community, take the GNU tools for granted. This is actually taken far enough to allow compacency which equates Linux with UNIX. While there is nothing wrong with that, that further degrades the concept of GNU tools from the collective memory of the community.

    However, this will also reduce the chance of catching a distribution that actually replaces the GNU tools with their own, proprietary offerings in their place.

    What Microsoft can do, is take Linux, and integrate modified versions of their Xenix tools into the operating sytem's core layer. Above that, the new xenix-style tools can be remodified to take advantage of the Win32 library, and allow the frame-buffer to take advantage of the DirectX sytem library.

    Overlay this with the Internet Explorer system shell, redesigned to further take advantage of the Operating system underneath, add a DOS-compatibility layer as a patch, or possibly a Plus! attachment, and you have a fully-proprietized Linux-based Windows system... only the kernel itself would be open, simply because of the GPL.

    Now, the concept is a little hard to swallow, but get this: Microsoft would be in their bounds to do so with full legal backing. This would also provide a defense against the DOJ ("Look, we are now using Linux, which doesn't belong to anyone! We are playing on a level playing field... we DON'T have a monopoly, so you cannot try us anymore!"), and prevent the companies who now use Linux as their spring-board to further compete.

    The most frightening thing about this is that Microsoft can then ignore development of the low-level layers of their system. This gives them more time to research "Integration."

    Microsoft is not out of the picture, and they are certainly not without options!


    Disclaimer:
    I am not a Microsoft professional, nor am I part of the IT industry. (yet) These are purely based upon my views, observations, and predictions.

    Okay, now... Let me have it! :-)

    --
  • All of your plans have been completely public, although you've been lying out your ass about the delivery date for years.

    Funny... Microsoft has never officially announced a release date for NT5/Win2k; it's all been press speculation.
  • People, this job is marketing based. While the rest of you argue about how Microsoft are always ranting that Windows XYZ is superior to Alternative OS, Microsoft is jealous of the Press Time and Attitude Linux get.

    In my mind this is the key that proves Microsoft simply don't get the whole Free Software thing. Linux doesn't need to be a threat.

    People have expressed (here) worries that RedHat could become the next Microsoft, by capturing mind share. I'm often surprised the Microsoft haven't created a distribution themselves, the GPL definitely(IMHO) allows you do what ever you want with the source.

    Think about it, a MS Linux would be attractive to the suits, albeit not to the tech-heads. Then X years down the track, the MPM (as opposed to RPM) format rules supreme.

    The strength of Linux is it's diversity, but MS are still bigger than all the distributors. The fight is real, it is now. I feel Microsoft could still win (I don't want that, but they could).


  • Sorry but if you want to root for Microsoft then you better not go on the net or you will use Linux/*BSD/Apache/Sendmail/Bind/... which are all Free softwares.

    At least with my "Average OS" I can stay with 2 weeks of uptime on my workstation without any effort on an un-stable kernel (2.1.121) and doing day to day things (progamming, reading HTML pages offline, doing my reports on StarOffice (with Java speed emulated ;))...).

    And BTW I'm more a Free Software zealot than a Linux zealot (this is only for myself of course).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They will.. take all the features in Linux that can be taken and put them into NT.

    I for one, think it would be a GOOD thing if MICROS~1 added Linux features like reliability, portability, efficiency, low-cost, responsiveness to customer concerns, and quality-control by massive peer review to NT. What are the chances of this actually happening?

    Truth is, MICROS~1 can only emulate some minor features of GNU and Linux; to really steal ALL the good features would require major changes in both the architecture of Windows and in how MICROS~1 does business...
  • Not all of the articles posted on Slashdot are specifically about Linux, and most of them have at least some relevance to my life. I don't read everything, just the stuff I'm interested in. I usually read stuff relating to Microsoft, because I like to see people complain about it.

    Sorry about taking so long to reply to this.

    I should have written that better. What I was saying, is that I don't comprehend why someone comes here, when the obvious slant to the articles here (especailyl ones like this) are the slant of a microsoft hating linux user?

    Try reading everything with an open, unbiased mind, and you'd be amazed how much crap gets posted.

    That's what spawned the last post. :) The original poster has just as much of a bias as the linux user, but the difference is, that his bias is more or less flamebait in this forum.

    And I'm a philosophy and CS double major... Open minded discussion is what i've been cramming for the last week. :)

    It's hilarious, the trend is the same, but the sides are different. People here are disgustingly anti-popular thought, to the point where if the masses subscribe to a particular viewpoint, there has to be someone who has to break the mold strictly on the basis that the masses hold the exact opposite viewpoint. This trend increases until the opposite thought becomes the masses, and the cycle starts all over again.

    I find ex-linux user friends of mine doing the same thing, because in they're crowd, they are again the minority, and being the minority seems to be the only way boring geeks like us seem to stand out.

    NT sucks. That's my opinion. I don't want to force it on anyone, and I don't see a need to justify it either. I dislike microsoft because of their shady business practices.

    Oh, and not to be picky, but address that you have listed as your homepage is down. Perhaps a different web server (or OS) would help (heh heh)

    No hehe, I just changed schools, and I've been too lazy to change it. :)

    -Erik-
  • Bear in mind that Slashdot posters are not an average cross-section of Linux users. Slashdotters tend to be heavy in the "zealot" group. Also, many of them are young, and a recent product of our wonderful "educational" system. Remember that manners are no longer taught in school.

    --
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I read it three times, since I [w,c]ouldn't believe my eyes ...

    Division: Marketing
    Primary responsibilities include competitive analysis of Linux

    Instead of focusing on creating a better OS on their own, analyse 'theirs' and since you are a Marketing Specialist find a way to sabotage its name and reputation in the press ...

    But that's just my interpretation.
  • IN fact, now that I think about it, IBM had/has a position actually called "Anti-Microsoft".

    Go Figure

  • by Anonymous Coward
    You'd be surprised at the number of people who not only read Slashdot at Microsoft, but also use Linux on their personal machines.

    Case in point: Me. I'm posting Anonymously because I do work at Microsoft, and I run Linux as well as read Slashdot semi-religiously. Not only that, but a number of guys in my group also read Slashdot, and the editor of choice for my project is emacs.

    Just because one uses Microsoft products or aspires to be paid by Microsoft does not make one inherently evil or preclude them from reading Slashdot.

    I'll get off my high horse now.
  • Nope, -h is short for --human-readable (alters the way file sizes are printed) in GNU ls 4.0 at least. For GNU ls 3.16, -h was not a valid option. The answer for SunOS 5.5.1 ls is -e, -h, -j, -k, -v, -w, -y, -z. I think that the GNU fileutils people need to make some more options. --extra-large-print, --just-show-special-files, --yes-i-want-recursion-to-depth-n, and --gzip-output perhaps? ;P
  • I think everyone who replied to this missed the point of the post. He 's rooting for MS not because its a superior product, not because he dislikes Linux but because he's been turned of the movement by the same immature FUD that he is reflecting in the tone of his post. The Linux zealots, CLI bigots and the holier-than-thou developers who have utter contempt for the common user (kids, moms, secretaries, auto workers etc) seem to get a lot of air time on /. and elsewhere in the OSS community. And it appears that they are effectively driving people who may otherwise use Linux away and back into the open arms of MS. Everyone here is either one of the above mentioned people of felt their typed wrath on more than one occasion (I know I have).

    People with attitudes like those the poster describes will do more to kill Linux and keep MS on top than any half-baked MS-Linux ditro could ever do.

    Next time you want to blast MS, write the sentence down...now switch the words MS and Linux around...how does it sound now? FUD is FUD is FUD, no matter which direction it goes.

    Remember, you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

  • How odd. That page seems to have been disabled!
  • "MS employees are so STUPID as to not be able to download a fraggin' copy of REDHAT?"
    They may know how to download it, but after that they're most likely totally lost. And yeah, M$ needs Linux Gurus, just like you need to check your facts before saying that "it has several thousand of them working for it already". They may have some FreeBSD guys and some Solaris guys off-site but it's doubtful that they have "thousand(s)" of them. After seeing your pro-Microsoft posts, one after another, I couldn't take it anymore. You, my friend, are the target for M$ FUD. It's guys like yourself that believe all the M$ hype and are afraid of command lines and compilers.

  • by Dilbert_ ( 17488 ) on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @12:19PM (#1871715) Homepage
    Did anyone notice that no actual Linux experience was required for this job ? And that excellent writing qualities were sought ? Sounds like they are looking for a FUD-farmer...

  • "MS employees are so STUPID as to not be able to download a fraggin' copy of REDHAT?"
    They may know how to download it, but after that they're most likely totally lost.


    Hubris - don'tcha just love it?

    And yeah, M$ needs Linux Gurus, just like you need to check your facts before saying that "it has several thousand of them working for it already". They may have some FreeBSD guys and some Solaris guys off-site but it's doubtful that they have "thousand(s)" of them.

    Hellooooo? Who works here @ MS and who doesn't in this conversation? I know what I'm talking about when I say there are thousands of Linux Guru's here at MS.

    After seeing your pro-Microsoft posts, one after another, I couldn't take it anymore. You, my friend, are the target for M$ FUD. It's guys like yourself that believe all the M$ hype and are afraid of command lines and compilers.

    Hmmm... that's an odd comment to make. Especially seeing that I work day in, day out on systems libraries for the developer tools division here.
  • Apache is not better than IIS on NT. Balmer simply mentioned that there are some things that Apache does much better than their server. IIS is perfectly fine server and when NT itself is not sick, performs very well. I do not see them selling Apache with their platform, it is simply not possible right know. They invested too much technology into integrating IIS with all this new stuff their coming up constanlty. As to the Linux ? Heheh. Will not hapen either. They don't need that - it is as simple as that. At most what they will do is to provide some sort of bridge tools between Unix and NT ( and mostly provide assistance with moving from UNIX to NT )
  • I stop by MS once in a while and do a search on Linux. It's entertaining. The one thing I did find, I noticed they did a port of Netshow to Linux. I didn't want to download it then. After MS woke up and smelled the Linux coffee (not to be confused with java), I went back and the download page is gone. It still makes a mention of it being there, but I get a document not found. I got a little more curious and tried the FTP site. It still has the other UNIX versions, but for some reason the Linux ELF binary disappeared. Weird. Maybe we should report this to the X-Files.

    Fantus
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This looks like some sort of FUD-spewing, spinning job :

    Some PR and sales or marketing experience would be helpful. A Master's or Bachelors in business administration is desirable.

    The person selected would thus know all kind of marketing tricks to put down Linux in favour of Windows. Though laughable, this is a rather disquieting trend.
  • IMHO, the key phrase is
    This is a key position within Microsoft, and very high visibility, both within and outside the company.
    This says something about the threat level that M$ currently assigns to Linux.

    Chilli

  • by Enry ( 630 ) <enry@@@wayga...net> on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @12:23PM (#1871721) Journal
    The simple explination is "know thy enemy". Doing a competitive analysys is pretty common, and I'm sure that the marketing people over at RedHat, VAR, and so on have done these. And I'd venture to guess they do this not only against MS products, but against SCO, IBM, probably even other Linux vendors.

    MS is looking for what to say when a customer says "but what about that Linux thing? why is Win2000 better?", they'll know what to say besides "it's free software".

    If anything, I take this as one of the best compliments the Linux community can get. We're really competition. Now if only we can get a hold of the complete analysis when complete....
  • by Grenamier ( 12799 ) on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @03:00PM (#1871722)
    To me, it looks like Microsoft is creating its own distribution of Linux. For one clue, the title of the job is "Product Manager". No company has Product Managers for products they don't sell. Some of the duties include "product development for the development team" and "technical assistance for the sales force."

    The position also advertises "high visibility" outside of the company. People who just watch competitors and make reports about them don't normally get much exposure (VinodV didn't get his 15 minutes on purpose). But if Microsoft is selling a "new" product, its Product Manager would be expected to flog it to the press.

    So what's Microsoft up to? Scrapping NT for Linux? Of course not, they'd be throwing away all of their leverage. Trying to steal Linux technology for NT? Perhaps, but they wouldn't need to sell a product of their own for that.

    This is my wild speculation:

    Free-sourced software is the Internet happening all over again for Microsoft...everyone in the industry is jumping on the bandwagon and stories about the success of Linux, Apache and Perl are everywhere. Microsoft missed the populization of yet another decades-old "phenomenon" and they've known it since Hallowe'en at the least.

    What did Microsoft do about the Internet? Embraced and tried to extend it. Now everything they sell has some Internet features, but they didn't manage to spread Active Server Pages everywhere, and Apache still tromps MS Internet Information Server.

    I believe Microsoft will start by bundling Apache like Apple did, all "cleaned-up" with a Windows interface. Perhaps in the next Service Pack and in Windows 2000. Ballmer was saying the other day that Apache was simply better, in fact. They'll make a big deal about Microsoft supporting Open Source, and how they support innovations like that.

    Then Microsoft ActiveLinux 3.1 will come out (I thought that was the most probable name and no version number less than 2.2 - 3.1 is good luck for Microsoft.) They'll make it easily installable, perhaps add USB and NTFS support, and then use Active X and IE for UNIX to put a Windows interface on Linux that has some Win32 APIs, the way OS/2 had some Win32 API's with DAX.

    I'd be willing to bet Microsoft keeps that interface closed. They'll argue using a creative interpretation of GPL or LGPL so that they won't have to reveal the source and perhaps any undocumented Win32 calls that they port over. What they do will probably be in violation of the (L)GPL, but what legal force will be able to challenge them? ESR doesn't have that kind of cash.

    MS shops and ISV's won't care about that though. Those dyed-in-the-wool Microsoft groupies, PHBs and non-technical CEOs who've heard so much about Linux can try it without leaving the MS fold or the Windows interface.

    And they'll be impressed. Instead of creating a bad distribution to discredit Linux, they'll create a really good one, with all the goodies and easy installation (that you can start from Windows like Caldera, probably). Microsoft users who need hand holding will use it, Windows users who want to get into Linux (but don't want to get their hands dirty) will use it, and ISVs will write to that closed interface, because Microsoft will give them tools to make an easy port that lets Windows program keep Win32 calls for the UI. Microsoft will make ActiveLinux become the path of least-resistance for users and vendors from the Windows world who want to expand into Linux but have no interest in free-source issues.

    If Microsoft succeeds in keeping the interface closed, and porting Office and BackOffice to their distribution, then it'll mean trouble because other distros won't look very competitive to the new users and the industry press. Microsoft could end up gathering more users than the other distributions, and then I don't know what...Microsoft was never able to get most of the web servers to run on MS-ware, so they didn't succeed there, but what if they managed to amass the biggest share of Linux users? Would it give them enough power to influence Linux's direction?

    I'm not trying to be alarmist, I'm just trying to figure out their strategy...I could have it all wrong, but I do believe Microsoft will create its own distribution, and that it will try to create some reason to use Microsoft's distro instead of anyone else's. And Rob shouldn't work for them...what would happen to Slashdot??

    Sorry for the length, I got off on a tear there...
  • My friends, features can be stolen. They have all the money in the world to steal features with.

    Shipping is a feature.

    Stability is a feature.

    Hardware leanness--the ability to do more with less--is a feature.

    The ability to choose the company that fixes your OS is a feature.

    Microsoft can pull all the tools, software features, and gizmos they want out of Linux. They can make them themselves, or grab them straight from the distros and ship it with source code. But their business model and practices prevent them from getting the best features of Linux.

    If they want to do get the stability, the ability to release on schedule, etc., they will have to change more than their entire code base; they will have to change the way they do business.

    And then, my friends, they would no longer be the Microsoft we know today.

    Many people believe that, because Microsoft is so good at screwing the customer, they can get away with bad software. I submit that they make bad software because they screw over the customer. You can't separate the two, any more than you can get a magnetic monopole.

    As an example, I give remote access. Given the current business model, Microsoft will never give remote access to the complete functionality of an NT box. If they did, we would make fewer, bigger NT boxen and use thin clients to reach them. Remote access is never in the vendor's advantage when the vendor targets the desktop license market. Unix gets away with it because it targets the server license market; Linux gets away with it because it doesn't target licenses.

    Another example is the release schedule. To get a constant revenue stream, they drop releases at seemingly long intervals. Linux distributions (not just the kernel itself) release more quickly than that. But almost every time Microsoft drops a release on us, it requires us to upgrade our machinery and most of our application base. They get to sell Office over and over again to the same people. Linux distros release more quickly, but you don't need to get each rev. With few exceptions, you can run the same apps on new Linux that you could on old Linux. And it will run on the same boxen. You choose when to upgrade your system based on your applications needing more digital macho, not your operating system needing more digital macho.

    Microsoft can look like it provides the features of Linux. However, they cannot actually provide what Linux provides while still being Microsoft.

    This leads to four possibilities. One is that Microsoft gets thoroughly trounced by Linux; it could in fact happen. A second one is that Microsoft FUDs Linux back into the hobby realm; I am not cynical enough to believe that to be possible. A third one is that Microsoft coexists with Linux, no longer as a monopoly platform. The fourth is that Microsoft beats Linux by producing the best features of Linux.

    For either the third or fourth results to occur, Microsoft must change itself, likely to suit the customer. They cannot exist in present form without the monopoly, so they must change merely to coexist with Linux. For them to assimilate the features of Linux, they need to assimilate some of its business practices. For three of these four results, the customer wins.

  • They are seeking knowlege of the strengths and weaknesses of Linux. They wish to find these so they can integrate the strengths into the next version of NT, while using the weaknesses to destroy Linux vendors. They are not afraid of lengthenning the NT code base to get what they want - if there are features in Linux that aren't in NT, then they will publicly praise these features. If there are weaknesses in Linux that aren't in NT, then they will publicly praise
    NT. They do not praise Linux, or Apache (as Ballmer was accused of doing) but instead the features.

    My friends, features can be stolen. They have all the money in the world to steal features with.

    They will tell the poor sap who takes this job that they are trying to improve NT by adding Linux-like features. They will tell themselves that. But their vision of a single OS for everything is more important than the methods used to achieve it.


    Hmmm... interesting hypothesis, but do you really think that MS employees are so STUPID as to not be able to download a fraggin' copy of REDHAT? That MS has to hire a "Linux Guru" when it has several thousand of them working for it already?
  • At the very least, http://www.vinod.com is still up, and it still says he works for Microsoft.
  • Actually, Microsoft gave away free copies of NT Workstation and Visual Studio at my school (Caltech). So I didn't pay a dime for any of it, unless you count tuition.

    -ElJefe
  • The DOJ trial is heating up again so this makes perfect sense. Steve Balmer makes some comments about Apache... MS leaks to the press last week that they have put together a *team* to study Linux and how MS can combat this threat...

    MS is a very very sharp marketing machine and they play the press like a great conductor...I would expect a lot of MS comments etc... about Linux in the near future.
  • Microsoft wants a PR person to investigate Linux. Which won't take very long. After that it will be that persons job to discover effective ways to promote M$ products while mitigating any perceived threat from the Linux.

    So M$ thinks of Linux as a threat, nothing new there. Microsoft is allocating more people and resources towards that threat. Most people knew that would happen.

    Microsoft is a marketing company first and a software company second. They always have been and it's the reason for there finacial success.

    The question is how will they combat the threat other than FUD and legal means? How much money are they going to put into it? Does it really affect most geeks/hackers?

    -Dave
  • I have to say I feel sorry for whoever decides to take this position. They aren't kidding when they say "High Profile" within and out of MS.

    You thought Jesse Berst got a lot of hate mail... You ain't seen nothin yet! Maybe i'll email the new employee a copy of procmail so they can filter out their flames ;)

  • Screw microsoft. Who cares if they know linux or not. I certainly don't mind if we never see microsoft again.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Up until recently I deeply despised Microsoft, but after reading Slashdot for a couple of weeks I've come to the conclusion that if there's anything worse than a world dominated by Microsoft it must be a world controlled by Linux zealots. Sad.
    I wish Linux dogmatists were less presumptuous and imperious. You'd be much more tolerable if you were willing to acknowledge the faults and deficiencies of your utterly average OS. Loose the religious zeal and try to augment Open Source with Open Minds.
    Being familiar with the invariable dullness and bigotry of the common Linux zealot I'm not holding my breath though. In the meantime I'm rooting for Microsoft.
  • You are right, of course. Microsoft would need no help deconstructing linux, in any case. And the people who work there are coders just like me, and most likely smarter.



    But you gotta admit, I've a good point. There IS a pattern.

    First, microsoft comes in, and, yes, Gates is a genius and all. He starts charging for the operating system, which was really really quickly put together. I don't believe that until NT, microsoft EVER had the time to go back and fix these things! Then, they start by taking the word processors, and clumsily cloning them, bundling them with the OS. You may remember Word 1.0, which made notepad look soooo good. They soon after clone spreadsheets and soon databases. Later Powerbuilder.

    I even remember the hype from excel when it first came out. I have to admit- excel is right now a great product. But there are other great products.

    But since the office suite came out, Microsoft has never let up. They praise, they liscense, then they clone, they take, and finally they choke the market for incomming competitors one way or another. Linux, although a fine OS in its own right, is simply the meeting of a million programmers who can't stand it and are revolting the only possible way - by starting a seperate OS, and adding all the features. I think it's wierd.

    It's as if, after Rockerfeller started the oil business and monopolized it, making it impossible for others to compete, a group of volunteers each mined oil from their backyards and refined it themselves, giving the final product to each other.

    Sorry, but to every product, every movement, and every idea there is a counter idea. To microsoft's vision of a single OS, the Be developers of the world just say "Blow."

    I just ask one thing: Fix Visual C++ to be a standard compliant C++ compiler so I can get my Unix programs working on NT easier. Pretty Please?
    And I mean those annoying std:: namespace stuff. Why are cstdio not in the namespace? I could send a long list of freaking wierd errors I had porting code which were all non-compliant to the standard.

    -Ben, who thanks you for speaking your mind in the face of these religious zealots.
  • ...a snowball tender in Hell.
  • I see BSOD's with NT all the time.. I have been running linux and my system has NEVER crashed; however, X did restart one time while running gnome. And I don't reboot unless I upgrade my kernel (which unfortunatly is a rare occurance), when was the last time you upgraded your NT kernel?? Shows you how fast NT is developing. Does linux have flaws ? Certainly. Does NT? What flaw doesn't it have? My school uses NT on their networks, perhaps its the stupid system admins, but the security is HORRIBLE. The bios restricted boot from removeable media, however NT was installed on fat16 and a simple edit of boot.ini with the proper bootimage and command.com (and other dos files), I had a fully bootable dos extention to the boot manager which I used to grab the password file and gained admin on the entire network. Lets see a properly secured Linux machine get fscked that bad. True, the system should have used NTFS, but unfortunatly NTFS is slower then fat16, and most systems come with fat16 drives already which many are not willing to convert in fear of dataloss. When is NT gonna come with a compiler, non-qbasic script interpretor (such as perl, python, tcl). How about a fully functional firewall. How great do you think IIS is ?? Even MS admits that it blows chunks.. it killed at rendering my page littered with Server Side Includes... Get a life, get real.. NT is going out and Unix (probally Linux) is going in.

    Some say that linux has no applications, I scoff.. checkout http://www.freshmeat.net/, no support (checkout linuxcare.com), no gui (checkout http://e.themes.org), and that it is hard to use (checkout http://www.redhat.com/).

    My entire FAMILY uses my linux-equipped computer fine, and understands it better then any Nt machine (however my dad still can't operate the login screen for XDM OR NT) I have thrown every configuration possible at this computer, moving from console to X with fvwm2 to fvwm95 and then to WindowMaker, kde, gnome, kde/gnome combo, etc.. this computer has had ever user interface as I have learned more and as interfaces have developed. I eventually moved to E DR15 and gnome, which has developed to become fast enough for my Pentium 166 to still run faster then windows with a GUI that pars on a userfriendly level with a mac, and every user has a completely different look to their applications and desktops. (my sister uses NextStep'ish look, other sis uses MacOS, mom/dad Win95/NT, and I brushedmetal look).

    Linux is configurable, user-friendly, and stable.. And many distributions come with easy installation interfaces not only for the Operating System, but for the applications. Redhat comes with Gnorpm which connects to the redhat databases and has a large collection of software already compiled for you... something even my kid sister can handle. Debian comes with a very well written package manager too which is as good/better then redhat's tool. (I do not currently run redhat, however I have tried gnorpm on a redhat system with good results)

    If Windows has it, Linux has it.. faster, prettier, and with a simplier interface (on a properly configured system)

    Btw.. how much did you pay for your software? haha


    Just My 500 cents.

  • The community probably won't get to see that report. Chances are it'll be proprietary MS information, used internally for formulation of marketing strategy. What the community will see is the spin MS put on their marketing and the strategy they use for attempting to lock Linux out.

    And spin and strategy are what Microsoft excel at. They didn't get >90% OS market domination, with similar levels for Windows-based office and development software, by building a better product.

    Surely nobody expects MS to pay someone to help Linux conquer the world.
  • Well, basically the only way MS could "beat" Linux is to make an O/S that is as highly configurable and stable OS. Oh, and it's gotta be free. Now that I think of it, it also shouldn't need to restart every time you need to change your mouse! That's just for starters... I can't see MS ever making an OS like this though. Although maybe somebody who knows what a good OS looks like could improve Windoze!
  • Theory #1: they need more people because they think they are not quite up to the task with the current number.

    ..or...

    Theory #2: they need other people because they think they are not quite up to the task with the current people, i.e. they are not good enough at it.

    Either way, this sounds like good news for us! ;-)

    Actually, Microsoft hires new employees all the time; people come, people go, and the company is expanding rapidly.

    Solution? Hire people. Stands to reason really.
  • They don't have to use a creative interpretation of the (L)GPL - they just have to include an extra library that is licensed to be used only with MS Linux.
    This library could provide a compatibility layer to make it easier to port Windows apps. This would of course include support for undocumented calls used by MS, and might not cover some of the API they they have published but don't actually use. Some performance/stability problems compared to Windows are guaranteed. Obvioously, new libraries would be added whenever a freely available alternative neared completion.

    Their biggest problem in keeping their former customers will be that one of the reasons to switch to Linux is to get away from MS.
    I guess we could also see some software coming with a file that says "This software is available under the GPL with the additional restriction that it can't be used on an operating system from MS".
  • This is instead of getting the complete analysis when it's still incomplete.
  • Of course Microsoft want people to analyse Linux. What on earth do you suppose Slashdot itself is, with threads like this? Could it possibly be the Linux community analysing Microsoft, again and again, repeating the same conclusions ad nauseum?
  • This is nothing new to large companies. IBM for example has various "Anti-Competitor" positions. IBM isn't the only one, CISCO, ATT and many many others. Its basic marketing strategy now-adays.

  • This is the best comment of the bunch, I think. Grenamier makes the point that Microsoft could create their own distribution of Linux with a proprietary Win32 kicker. They are in their rights doing this, and if I were MS this is exactly the tactic I would use. How different is this from Corel using Linux as a vector to market their proprietary Corel Office software?

    Even though the premise is good, there are some fundamental mistakes of fact which ought to be resolved:

    Grenamier (jtruong@idirect.com) Wrote:
    To me, it looks like Microsoft is creating its own distribution of Linux. For one clue, the title of the job is "Product Manager". No company has Product Managers for products they don't sell. Some of the duties include "product development for the development team" and "technical assistance for the sales force."[Emphases mine]

    The position also advertises "high visibility" outside of the company. People who just watch competitors and make reports about them don't normally get much exposure (VinodV didn't get his 15 minutes on purpose). But if Microsoft is selling a "new" product, its Product Manager would be expected to flog it to the press.

    So what's Microsoft up to? Scrapping NT for Linux? Of course not, they'd be throwing away all of their leverage. Trying to steal Linux technology for NT? Perhaps, but they wouldn't need to sell a product of their own for that.[emphases mine]

    Yes, I agree completely. They wouldn't bother with a project unless they were planning to either make something for sale, or were planning a "grassroots" marketing effort. But they can't "Steal" something out in the open like a GPL'd package, so I don't know what you mean by that.

    This is my wild speculation:

    Free-sourced software is the Internet happening all over again for Microsoft...everyone in the industry is jumping on the bandwagon and stories about the success of Linux, Apache and Perl are everywhere. Microsoft missed the populization of yet another decades-old "phenomenon" and they've known it since Hallowe'en at the least.[Emphases Mine]

    I really like that quote. It well describes the mentality which must be fermenting in MS upper management strategy meetings.

    What did Microsoft do about the Internet? Embraced and tried to extend it. Now everything they sell has some Internet features, but they didn't manage to spread Active Server Pages everywhere, and Apache still tromps MS Internet Information Server.

    I believe Microsoft will start by bundling Apache like Apple did, all "cleaned-up" with a Windows interface. Perhaps in the next Service Pack and in Windows 2000. Ballmer was saying the other day that Apache was simply better, in fact. They'll make a big deal about Microsoft supporting Open Source, and how they support innovations like that. [Emphases Mine]

    This follows well.

    Then Microsoft ActiveLinux 3.1 will come out (I thought that was the most probable name and no version number less than 2.2 - 3.1 is good luck for Microsoft.) They'll make it easily installable, perhaps add USB and NTFS support, and then use Active X and IE for UNIX to put a Windows interface on Linux that has some Win32 APIs, the way OS/2 had some Win32 API's with DAX.

    No. I've got a couple problems with this. First, USB support is already in active development, as is NTFS support in the kernel... that point is moot. Of course they could always release a binary only driver, but like with VMware, I think they're likely to find kernel developers unwilling to maintain backward compatability to support binary only drivers. As well they should! What this means for Microsoft is that they will never control the momentum of kernel development unless they're willing to attempt a legal attack against the GPL; though that may well be in their interest.

    I'd be willing to bet Microsoft keeps that interface closed. They'll argue using a creative interpretation of GPL or LGPL so that they won't have to reveal the source and perhaps any documented Win32 calls that they port over. What they do will probably be in violation of the (L)GPL, but what legal force will be able to challenge them? ESR doesn't have that kind of cash.

    OK. More problems of minor ignorance. First of all, if MS were to release a proprietary Win32 widget library, this would be no different from The OpenGroup [opengroup.org] with their Motif [opengroup.org] product line, or Troll Tech [troll.no] with their previous QT-1.x product line. In both cases each company has (and had) every legal right to sell a proprietary binary only software package which could not only cost to develop for, but could even cost just to use in runtime licensing fees!

    If these guys get to play that game, then certainly Microsoft can. The GPL only covers software which can be thought to derive from a previously GPL'd source base. For example, if I create a source tree completely by scratch the GPL has nothing to say about what kind of license I distribute under. But if I derive an offshoot from a previously GPL'd program, say my own special version of GNU ls, and I distribute this code in binary form for either free or for charge, then I must also offer to distribute source, and I can't prevent the recipient from also distributing either the binary or the source.

    Harsh terms if you want to take something someone else wrote, change a line here and there (or not even that if you release under a BSD license), and then call it yours. But a Win32 emulation library, which has already been created for NT, is something wholly authored by Microsoft, and therefore completely their's to distribute under whatever license they choose. They don't even have to sell development libraries to third party developers; meaning they could, if they wanted to, completely monopolize the office software for Linux market given their current monoploy on office software and the immediate demand from the business community should they ever offer such a product. They could even use their old standard tactic of the Interface Shuffle by porting Win32 and MS Office to Linux, and then changing the Win32 layer regularly enough to prevent WINE from ever maintaining compatability.

    This is what they mean by embrase and extend.

    The LGPL license is another animal, designed to allow developers to offer a library of functions for other developers to include in their code without demanding that said developers using that library release their source upon releasing their software.

    MS shops and ISV's won't care about that though. Those dyed-in-the-wool Microsoft groupies, PHBs and non-technical CEOs who've heard so much about Linux can try it without leaving the MS fold or the Windows interface.

    And they'll be impressed. Instead of creating a bad distribution to discredit Linux, they'll create a really good one, with all the goodies and easy installation (that you can start from Windows like Caldera, probably). Microsoft users who need hand holding will use it, Windows users who want to get into Linux (but don't want to get their hands dirty) will use it, and ISVs will write to that closed interface, because Microsoft will give them tools to make an easy port that lets Windows program keep Win32 calls for the UI. Microsoft will make ActiveLinux become the path of least-resistance for users and vendors from the Windows world who want to expand into Linux but have no interest in free-source issues.

    Microsoft won't do it unless they think it will significantly extend their MS Office monopoly. This is where the serious bucks are for them anyway. If MS ever begins to think Corel's Office for Linux, or StarOffice, might become a serious threat to MS Office marketshare (+15% of the market, say) then this is exactly the tactic I'd expect them to take.

    If Microsoft succeeds in keeping the interface closed, and porting Office and BackOffice to their distribution, then it'll mean trouble because other distros won't look very competitive to the new users and the industry press. Microsoft could end up gathering more users than the other distributions, and then I don't know what...Microsoft was never able to get most of the web servers to run on MS-ware, so they didn't succeed there, but what if they managed to amass the biggest share of Linux users? Would it give them enough power to influence Linux's direction? [Emphases Mine]

    You can't stop Microsoft from releasing their own commercial and costly Linux distribution with a proprietary Win32/MS Office kicker, they're in their legal rights to do so. This is no different from Apple releasing the core MACH and BSD components from MacOS-X under the APSL while keeping the crown jewels (Carbon and the OpenStep libraries) propritary. But like I said, the Linux core components like it's kernel and basic tools will never be under Microsoft's control unless they can pull a legal victory out of their ass which undermines the GPL. If they pull that stinker off the entire Open Source community is fucked. And it might well be in their interest to attempt this move if they ever think the dollar losses from OS/Office sales to Linux ever exceeds the potential PR disaster from such a move.

    But baring such a casastrophic -- and unlikely -- outcome, we should expect that even if Microsoft released the most popular distribution of Linux, with all sorts of proprietary and expensive add ons to run commercial MS software, plenty of people will still just tinker around and maintain their own special Linux flavors. Do you really think Debian would go away? Not even if Caldera, Suse, and RedHat were flattened by the MS steamroller could they stop the Debian project without a Legal or Congressional victory (heh, maybe a bullshit Free Software Tax Act, that might make for good assault legislation against free software and is right up this congresses alley). Just like MS can't prevent end developers from creating a quality stable kernel and giving that away for free, they can't prevent a bunch of developers and end users from collecting a bunch of free software, creating a usable Linux distribution, and giving that away for free.

    Just like how Microsoft can't control the kernel source tree, the Debian project is exactly why Microsoft could take over the lion's share of the Linux user market as a vector to generate revenue from a Win32 and MS Office port, yet still not control all the Linux distributions out there. I don't know about you, but I can live without MS Office for Linux. I won't be paying astronomical fees just to run bad software because Frank down the street is too stupid to convert his email to ascii. But hey, that's me.

    [snip]

  • by DonkPunch ( 30957 ) on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @12:25PM (#1871757) Homepage Journal
    #define COMMENT_TONE HUMOROUS

    Why in the world is a slashdotter browsing jobs on the Microsoft web site? Hmmmmmmm?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @12:46PM (#1871760)
    hehe.. I made a bet with a guy at work that a linux search at M$ would turn up a job description. I was guessing but after all the new jobs with keyword llinux in them compared to six months ago I assumed I had a good shoot. Can't wait to see what the "press" does with it.

    Adam Cody

"The identical is equal to itself, since it is different." -- Franco Spisani

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