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Microsoft's Ballmer: "Linux Requires Our Concentrated Focus and Attention"

Microsoft's Ballmer: "Linux Requires Our Concentrated Focus and Attention"

  • Breaking i-Technology News: Google To Go Public - $2.7 Billion IPO Filing

    In a company-wide memo sent yesterday, Steve Ballmer called on Microsoft's 50,000-plus employees around the world to keep a very close eye on Linux and open source as a growing threat to the Redmond, WA-based company.

    Some key extracts from the memo:

    "IBM's endorsement of Linux has added credibility and an illusion of support and accountability, although the reality is there is no 'center of gravity,' or central body, investing in the health and growth of noncommercial software or innovating in critical areas like engineering, manageability, compatibility and security."

    "Noncommercial software products in general, and Linux in particular, present a competitive challenge for us and for our entire industry, and they require our concentrated focus and attention."

    "In this environment of lean budgets and concerns about Microsoft's attention to customers, noncommercial software such as Linux and OpenOffice is seen as an interesting, 'good enough' or 'free' alternative."

    "There is always enthusiasm in our business for new concepts. So-called 'free software' is the latest new thing. We will rise to this challenge, and we will compete in a fair and responsible manner that puts our customers first. We will show that our approach offers better value, better security and better opportunity."

    "While the noncommercial model may lead to many flavors of software, getting broad, consistent innovation requires coordination across many technology components. In the event of needed enhancements or fixes, the Linux development community, no matter how well intentioned, simply cannot advance Linux the way we can - and must - innovate in Windows."

  • More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

    Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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    Most Recent Comments
    Satya 05/04/04 10:45:40 AM EDT

    Competition makes a product perfect, and fear makes one competitive. Microsoft lacked these two things until 5 years ago, and produced junk-like stuff-Windows 98, which is not a worthy upgrade from Windows 95. But Microsoft simply minted money from public. Now, they face both competetion and fear from Linux; and hence we see Windows XP much better than earlier versions. In summary Linux is REQUIRED to keep Microsoft in self-control. Linux is the result of a number of professionals frustrated with Microsoft's money minting strategy. I am not anti-Microsoft. But I am anti-opportunistic, and anti-money-minting.

    sgposs 05/02/04 10:03:00 PM EDT

    Mr. Balmer's comments inadvertently give a clear road map for Linux to overtake Linux. However, in reading over the various responses there may truth to his comments. He rightly sees that Linux has the inherent advantage in that it is essentially free (minus support) and open for extension (its greatest asset). He also goes on to point out that MS will compete by essentially "better" integrating functionality across applications.

    If Linux programmers were to spend more time on pondering how they can make their applications more readily extensible with respect to interoperability (using/developing standard models for API's module substructures, oo design and code reuse, etc) across distributions, they could really cause havoc for Microsoft. I only wish the energy put into zeal expressing sentiments with regard to MS (which is really neither here nor there for Linux users, SCO notwithstanding) would be instead put toward this goal. That way more entry level/first time users will join the fold and hasten the day Mr. Gates sees it more worthwhile to go into retirement than continue to maintain monopolistic designs.

    Fecal Extrusion 04/30/04 02:32:34 PM EDT

    >> ..."the Linux development community, no matter how well intentioned,
    >> simply cannot advance Linux the way we can - and must - innovate in
    >> Windows."...

    If innovation means ramming unwanted stuff down peoples throats,
    cutting off competing software, and creating GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACES
    that look like they were created for retarded children with
    attention deficit disorder - THEN I hope Linux never catches up!

    The Windows XP GUI is an insult to anyone with an
    IQ higher than a tree-stump!!!

    >> ..."We will show that our approach offers better value,
    >> better security and better opportunity."...

    ...But until we have such a product, we will keep FUD'ing and
    slandering Linux, and keep on selling our cheesy broken useless software
    at the highest possible cost the market will allow.

    I swear if I hear Steve Ballmer use the word INNOVATE one more time,
    I am personally going to slap his bald head!!!

    Fecal Extrusion 04/30/04 02:06:25 PM EDT

    YES, Microsoft will probably buy SCO.
    Point to ponder:
    If Baystar and RBC had not loaned money to SCO, they would
    not have had the resources to litigate everyone on earth
    like they are.

    And, had they not gone litigation crazy, there is the chance
    they might still be around for a few years until business
    tapers off.

    So, why would it not be in Microsoft's best interests to
    'somehow' get money into SCO's hands so they can start
    their war against Linux? THEN, when everything starts and
    passes the point of no-return, recall the loan(s) leaving
    SCO in a very dangerous financial position.
    Without the money, everything falls apart for SCO, and
    Microsoft will buy whatever pieces are left at bargain
    basement prices.

    I hope Microsoft hires Darl McBride. He would fit in quite
    perfect with the rest of their white-collar criminals!

    exhausted 04/30/04 10:04:16 AM EDT

    i will work my hardest, so that i *never* have to touch anything m$ again. i could write 1000 pages, on what i hate about their product, and their practices. i just want to walk away... cos im too tired of their bullshit.

    Joseph McGee 04/30/04 09:25:02 AM EDT

    See, for example: http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,111036,00.asp.

    Joseph McGee 04/30/04 09:21:45 AM EDT

    If it matters, you're discussing a memo that came out nearly a year ago. The quotes in the story are from a Ballmer e-mail of June 4, 2003, not from this week.

    mayda.org 04/30/04 09:15:04 AM EDT

    This is a note of panic. Few more notes and then a final one saying I am going to hang myself ………..

    I think he needs to pull his head out of his own butt and look around

    einhverfr 04/30/04 02:30:29 AM EDT

    there is no video editing app that exists for linux that is anything like or powerful as Premiere... and that is sad because Premiere is considered a toy on the Video editing Biz.

    Actually, Lumpy, given the tools that Hollywood runs on Linux, I would say that the tools are far more powerful in Linux. However, what you are saying is that there is no Premier workalike that meets your needs. Fair enough. But it is not the same thing.

    Of course for this work, perhaps you would do best to use OS X. That way you can run the industrial strength *nix editing tools along with the nice easier to use tools such as Premier

    Lumpy 04/30/04 02:29:25 AM EDT

    There are FOUR reasons I run MSFT at home on one of my machines...

    Adobe Premiere
    Adobe After Effects
    Cool Edit

    all four have no equlivaent in linux. Nothing NADA. there is no video editing app that exists for linux that is anything like or powerful as Premiere... and that is sad because Premiere is considered a toy on the Video editing Biz. After Effects... NOTHING AT ALL CoolEdit.. Sorry, I've tried the linux apps.. I tried really damn hard. Until these developers drop their affinity for every shiny lib out there it's pretty darn useless to someone that doesnt want a music/audio ONLY workstation. JACK and ALSA integration sucks giant brown bananas.

    DVDLab. there is absolutely nothing under linux for DVD menu and ISO fabrication. no I dont want to spend 6 weeks hand writing text files, I want DVDLab alike or Scenarist alike tools.

    Linux Video editing is crap and has been for 5 years. Cinerella stinks, MainActor is utter crap, and Kino is for little kids making a home movie. also without effects tools like After Effects or Boris Red you are STILL stuck with wintel or having to get a MAC and kiss flip off the entire intel world.

    TW 04/30/04 02:28:27 AM EDT

    Many people say MS is all bad but they tend to forget the MS has a reputation for eventually making things better. Win2K was a solid OS for business. Win XP is a solid OS for the home(and business).

    The Open Source community would be better served by not spewing this FUD, and it _is_ FUD, and instead concentrating on the real problems with MS such as the monolithic nature of their development and important security problems caused by the monoculture of their monopoly (enough monos for you?).

    Open Source and Free software are very important, but they'll get the attention they deserve faster if they concentrate on their positives and not on the made-up negatives of Microsoft.

    GetReal 04/30/04 02:26:54 AM EDT

    MICROSOFT, is a business, that wants to make a PROFIT. Linux is a group of talented wannabes, that if offered a job working for MS, would dump their linux dev work in favor of feeding their family, and being able to afford that vacation to Disney World for their kids...

    Trolling4Dollars 04/30/04 02:21:36 AM EDT

    "While the noncommercial model may lead to many flavors of software, getting broad, consistent innovation requires coordination across many technology components. In the event of needed enhancements or fixes, the Linux development community, no matter how well intentioned, simply cannot advance Linux the way we can - and must - innovate in Windows."

    This is one area that open source and Linux need a little work in. We have a lot of really great coders, but we are lacking in the diversity of people who actually know various fields very well. A perfect example can be taken from the Windows world itself circa 1994. Back then, I was an audio engineer coming from the Macintosh world. I was beginning to look at the PC as a possible option. What I found after a lot of research was that there were many limitations within Windows 3.1 to multimedia and audio in particular. A few PC based friends of mine were making recommendations that I look at the Turtle beach products, Zefiro accoustics (for hardware), S.A.W. and the like. I wound up trying quite a few of them and settled on Cakewalk Pro Audio. It worked, as well as you could expect a Windows based audio/MIDI sequencer to work, at that time. These days, things on the Windows platform have improved tremendously. Sure, they aren't Macs and still don't work as well as Macs for professional audio, but they work about 98% as well.

    What happened? Microsoft was dragged kicking and screaming into accepting the fact that not everyone looks at a computer as a "business tool". For some of us, a computer is a creative tool, which is as far away from business as you can get. Artists are a pretty small market, but they can be a lucrative one. And that's what made Microsoft pay attention. They actually got creative types (real artists and musicians) together with engineers and made *some* of the needed changes to the OS to improve the multimedia subsystem. Again, the Mac is MUCH better at this than Windows, but the disparity isn't as big now.

    Unfortunately, in the Linux world, we still have mostly coders who like to play at being "artists" on the weekends. This is NOT a slam. I would qualify that I'm an artist who likes to play at being a "coder" during the week. What's needed are more people who can bridge the gap between the coders and the people who use the applications. This is something that most coders are loathe to accept. "Let the user dictate how the app works!? Nonsense!!" It ain't pretty, but there are some key areas of knowledge that coders just don't have the expertise in. And this applies to more fields than just art. How many coders truthfully say that they can understand and relate to the needs of their users in a very intimate way in the following fields/careers:
    1. Accounting
    2. Law (IANAL anyone?)
    3. Playwriter
    4. Journalist
    5. Librarian

    The point? A computer is no longer a "business tool", it's a "life tool" and needs to be viewed as such when applications and the OS are being designed. This is the point that Ballmer made in his own hamfisted way of "us vs. them". The reality is that the open source/free software community needs to include more than just coders in the development cycle.

    Is your project working on a multitrack audio editor? Then get some professional audio engineers to review your project and make suggestions. In exchange for their expertise, maybe you can offer to set up a system with your application. Are you starting to work on a new application to batch process graphics for print? Then open your project up to non-coders with professional print backgrounds who can tell you if your project is useful or not.

    This doesn't have to be the "free-for-all" nightmare that most coders envision. You can restrict what kind of non-coder gets to participate in the development cycle based on their experience in the field and how many useful contributions they have made after a period of time. You will also need to let more people like me into the development cycle. People who can act as the go-betweens and have a decent understanding of both sides. Sure, the user might ask for a feature that is impossible or impractical to implement, but they won't be able to understand why unless someone can explain it in plain English. It's also possible that the coder is going to misinterpret the user's request and just automatically shut down thinking the user asked for one thing when they really asked for something else.

    Finally, it needs to be well organized and controlled. To avoid having the development cycle slowed down by these new interlopers, priorities need to be set as well as development milestones and targets. At the same time, any user request that wasn't addressed in this rev needs even more serious consideration before the next rev. It can be done, but the real question is... are we up for it.

    (And yes... I consider myself an artist first and a "coder" for my day job)

    Decaff 04/30/04 02:20:09 AM EDT

    Ballmer: While the noncommercial model may lead to many flavors of software...

    Oh come on Steve, you achieve that magnificently with Windows. Your huge range of different versions of Visual Basics and Basic languages for Office for example, requiring major code re-writes between versions of Access. While we wer migrating to VB6, you teased us with VB.Net along with the delights of yet another rewrite of code. The API changes between Windows 95 and ME, between NT 3.51 and 4.0 kept us highly amused and on our toes. The huge range of networking protocols you forced us through while the poor non-commercial people stuck with boring old reliable NFS. We played along with Windows for Workgroups and NETBIOS for years, then as we were getting used to Domains under NT you switched over to Active Directory. We though we knew what HTML was supposed to do until you showed us how you knew better with Internet Explorer. Now you want to change it all yet again with Longhorn.

    Now I know what you mean by 'innovation': repeatedly re-inventing the wheel and forcing us to pay for it.

    krray 04/30/04 02:18:05 AM EDT

    And much like the 'ol Netware servers ... once I set up a box and get it running ... it just works. And works. And works. Typical deployment time for installation, email setup, web setup, DNS setup, Samba setup [they have got to HATE that one ;], and anything else the clients needs ... is an afternoons work.

    Sure -- you have to keep them updated as needed. The remote "root" type exploits that come along, compared to Windows, is so minimal it's funny. Normal installations don't give end users shell access and unless one of the services being used is remotely exploitable the possibility of any (which is most found) local exploit is quickly mitigated.

    Kurt Gray 04/30/04 02:17:10 AM EDT

    Microsoft execs are obsessed with the fact that Linux is (mostly) free (as in beer) and they assume the spreading adoption of Linux is only for that reason. They have this picture in their head that small - medium size companies are just too cheap to buy Windows and that's what's causing the migrations to Linux. They find it hard to understand that in many situations it is the IT departments of many companies advocating Linux not because of price, but because Linux is just easier for most network admins to install, configure, manage, and maintain.

    Eat Your Own Dog Food 04/30/04 02:15:16 AM EDT

    yeah keep concentrating on linux microsoft, maybe one day your servers will be good enough to use to host your own sites and services on hey?

    until then... i'll stick with unix thanks.

    Renan 04/29/04 11:04:18 PM EDT

    Microsoft has no chance against free software, at least for servers. For the desktop I can't say anything as both Windows and Linux live in peace on this computer.

    Jill Harman 04/29/04 10:54:19 PM EDT

    "We will rise to this challenge, and we will compete in a fair and responsible manner that puts our customers first. We will show that our approach offers better value, better security and better opportunity."
    Microsoft will "compete in a fair and responsible manner"?
    Microsoft will "show that our approach offers better value, better security..."?

    Microsoft?!? Oh, puhleeeeeeeeeeese.

    Die, Microsoft, DIE!!!


    Wizard 04/29/04 10:16:43 PM EDT

    Just another example of a corporate exec trying to rally the troops in the face of growing turnover rates and low moral...
    Ballmer needs a big capital "L" on his forehead......

    Euan 04/29/04 09:53:56 PM EDT

    s/commercial/proprietary/g on Ballmer's comments and it makes more sense.

    There is nothing stopping free software from being commercial.

    linuxforidiots 04/29/04 07:11:15 PM EDT

    in responce to dave_bsr:

    the same is true for myself. my roommate is totally freaked out about linux, he is a sales person for a internet software company whos entire office is built around linux. Yet, he still uses windows at home and office. I have a switchbox for all of my computers and his, but since he his box is a sole 650mhz 128mb box running windows xp, he decided to use my computer one day to check his hotmail. i was off making coffee and when i returned he had figured out on his own (definatley not tech or computer savvy, hes a sales person and knows what he needs too), but on this occasion he had found mozilla but clicking the gnome menu, choosing internet, and selecting mozilla web browser. on another day i had a windows computer running which he tried to use and could not lauch the browser because he couldnt find the start menu (autohide was on).

    if he could figure this out on his own (hell, he just figured out two weeks ago that you could drag icons, and still double clicks links in a web browser) then migrating offices to mozilla/evolution/openoffice should not be that difficult.

    Alex Chejlyk 04/29/04 05:50:15 PM EDT

    "compete in a fair and responsible manner"
    Like getting Baystar to invest in SCO to try to damage Linux....That is fair and responsible....
    I wonder why can't MS just make a good product? They have the cash!

    Alex Chejlyk 04/29/04 05:43:16 PM EDT

    You have a perfect opportunity to show this company the status of Linux on the Desktop - Setup one Linux station with Win4Lin on it. Load OpenOffice or StarOffice, Kontact or Evolution, Telent into the companies app and you'll be a star! I have fully converted on company to Linux and all of my clients run Linux servers with at least one Linux workstation at each office. This can be done, and I'll tell you everything I've done if that helps.

    [email protected]

    tchernobog 04/29/04 05:08:40 PM EDT

    "free software" is a new thing? 1984 means "new"? maybe this is the reason because Micro$oft hardly improves... it's still thinking as it were 20 years ago!!

    Bob 04/29/04 04:11:00 PM EDT


    eoin 04/29/04 04:01:20 PM EDT

    In the end I reckon it's the superiority of method that will decide the issues. OSS is quite solidly built on the scientific method, a method of proven pedigree. Microsoft, Apple and others each rely on particular (complicated and sophisticated) business models whose methods are unfortunately constrained by their need for profitibility etc..

    Interestingly, is not the success of OSS one of the most important demonstrations of the scientific method of the last few years? Especially in that it extends the use of the method way beyond the halls of academe?

    I still use Win98, OSX, and Mandrake. I look forward to much greater transparancy of interface.

    Shady-MS-money-is-used-to-undermine-Linux 04/29/04 03:44:47 PM EDT

    MS has been targetting Linux for years already, and regulators keep ignoring all complaints.

    One practically unreported case was MS, through Paul Allen's investment company Vector and a bunch of former MS executives, engineering the "privatization" of Corel last year. Allen's company provided the "non-monopolistic smokescreen" while MS secrectly sold (practically donated) them their large "non-voting" 25% stake which Vector used to screw the shareholders by pushing through their hostile bid. Corel's CEO Derek Burney and Chairman James Baillie colluded with the MS cronies at every stage leaving the Corel shareholders defenseless.

    The MS-Paul Allen/Baystar-SCO only came to light thanks to the Groklaw crowd's "distributed investigative efforts", but MS have been orchestrating the slaughter of Linux-friendly companies for a long time and in Corel's case they boldly rubbed salt on the wounds by having their own boys actually own the former competitor and Linux supporter.

    The MS unit behind the Corel and SCO attacks is the one that manages Microsoft's combined investment and strategy efforts, i.e. who use their massive financial loot and their tangled web of former associates to undermine the competition. A couple of winks over lunch, a promise or a tip of a future deal, and hey presto, another competitor's stock ends up in a downward spiral. Crony capitalism at its "best".

    Too bad that both the SEC and the DOJ simply bless these tactics by a convicted monopolist, but they have other political agendas to look after...

    DeUtterDoug 04/29/04 03:43:26 PM EDT

    It all boils down to one thing - Economics! M$ has, as it was said before, spent billions developing Windoze (and the other stuff, too). Linux strongly threatens that balance sheet. It costs 'nada', has a multitude of code 'Crafters' supporting it for 'nada', and forces us to look beyond the keyboard to use. It just seems to me that M$ is going to be the loser in the long run because they are focusing on beating Linux and not in making Windoze faster, more stable, more reliable, more secure (the last one is a biggie).

    Yes, Windoze is easy to use. Apple touts their OS's (for years) that their way is the best because the user just does what they need. No bit twiddling necessary. Unfortunately, I LIKE bit twiddling, as do most of the Linux users in the world.

    But, from the number of nasty virus attacks over the last few years, Windoze has more security holes than my old Grannie's strainer. That's what the concern should be about, Mr. Ballmer. Make Windoze better and leave us to our own games.

    mikem 04/29/04 03:35:23 PM EDT

    I hate way Steve Ballmer says Linux has no support. It indeed does. Any company that uses Linux has their own support person(s)!!...and if people were so inclined to, they could get a support contract from RedHat.

    NO accountability?!?!?! has he ever read the windows license agreement?!?! Microsoft is responsible for nothing!!!

    How many Millions of dollars were lost due to Microsoft windows flaws??

    Ballmer is out of his mind. I know of no one in the industry that ever gets support from Microsoft.

    1- because most of the software is not licensed anyway

    2- Microsoft support sucks.

    Joe Polk 04/29/04 03:34:04 PM EDT

    M$ loves to talk about innovation. Yet, so much of what they do is acquired technology. M$ has no intention of competing. Their goal is simply to give users no other choice but to come to them. Competition says that I CHOOSE you because you offer the best solution. They would prefer to be the only choice, and arguably have been, because such things as innovation and security can remain a back-burner concept. Now that they are forced to recognize a threat, suddenly security becomes a priority.

    John 04/29/04 03:22:36 PM EDT

    > ... and we will compete in a fair and responsible manner ...

    Now why would they do that when competing in unfair, irresponsible, illegal manners has benefited them so well in the past?

    What's the old saw about leopards and spots?

    Lorenzo Thurman 04/29/04 03:15:55 PM EDT

    IBM's endorsement of Linux has added credibility and an illusion of support and accountability, although the reality is there is no 'center of gravity,' or central body, investing in the health and growth of noncommercial software or innovating in critical areas like engineering, manageability, compatibility and security."

    Somebody should explain to Mr. Ballmer that this is actually a god thing. Since no one company can drive the course of Linux, no one comapny can co-opt it and use it for its own ends.

    Lazlo 04/29/04 03:02:46 PM EDT

    >> Look at Apple. They don't open up OSX - they'd go out of business. <<

    > How would Apple go out of business? Everyone who wants to run OSX needs a Macintosh, and each Macintosh needs OSX. <

    The minute Apple opened up OSX, there would be dozens if not hundreds of people porting it to Intel hardware.

    Ian 04/29/04 02:09:32 PM EDT

    > Steven Ballmer 19
    > 47 , self made

    He wrote all the code himself? All the artwork? Marketing, distribution, support? Wow, I'm impresssed, where does he find the time.

    > not crash as much. And even though the kernel is fully
    > open, the apps will be written for and tied to the secret
    > GUI layer, thus making porting nearly impossible.
    > This is exactly what Apple is doing to linux and BSD
    > right now with OSX. OSX is stealing the hordes of

    Surely this would depend on the library you use for your GUI? I've been able to take my Windows Qt apps and recompile them on Linux; to get them to work fully I had to add some sections of code that were Linux specific for the Linux compile, but nothing in the GUI.

    Paul Wolfson 04/29/04 01:57:38 PM EDT

    ClickPSI is a strictly vendor neutral company. We deploy vendor neutral software across many platforms including Linux, BSD, Solaris, Windows NT and OS-X. Open source has many advantages for the IT professional. For the average end user patching Linux is about as realistic as patching Windows -- not possible. Depending on the Linux distribution, reliability varies from excellent to fair. Microsoft is good to fair. Microsoft has the money and the talent to write an operating system light years ahead of anybody (except perhaps IBM). So far they have worried more about locking out competition than quality. Mr. Ballmer would do well to study a little history, vertical oligopolies in the market place generally fall apart and that should worry him. DEC, Data-General, TI and other competitors to Intel laughed at the paltry IBM PC. All could have dominated the PC market if they had taken it seriously 20 years ago. Once a critical mass of the Fortune 500 switches to Linux or other O/S, people will have it at home to be compatible with work. Whether this is 10% or 25% of the market, I don't know. At some point it will unless Microsoft realizes it is not the only game in town, rewrites Windows and/or splits up the company into independent companies, e.g. O/S+tools, applications, games; and, allows competition back into the market.

    Andy 04/29/04 01:44:47 PM EDT

    "We will rise to this challenge, and we will compete in a ... manner that puts our customers first. We can - and must - innovate in Windows...."

    Whuh - huh? .... Whoa, it's funny how the thinking changes when they can't kill the competition....

    Microsoft: "Where do we want you to go today?"

    Phu Phi 04/29/04 01:19:58 PM EDT

    "While the noncommercial model may lead to many flavors of software, getting broad, consistent innovation requires coordination across many technology components. In the event of needed enhancements or fixes, the Linux development community, no matter how well intentioned, simply cannot advance Linux the way we can - and must - innovate in Windows."

    I agree with his last paragraph. I think MS is over-reaching itself in too many area instead of focusing on developing Windows OS. If MS ever get its act together on Windows, making it at least as stable and secure as Linux, then Linux would not be much a threat to MS.

    MCW 04/29/04 01:14:43 PM EDT

    What a bunch of whiners. If you don't want to buy MS products then don't. Those of us who do, we got our reasons. Most of them relate to having work to do other than writing software or configuring computers. Keep feeling superior, keep feeling contempt of Microsoft and people who use their software, and you will insure the Linux group will someday approach the massive market share of .... Apple! Another collection of "we are superior, everyone who is not with is a moron" folks.

    Sivasankar Chander 04/29/04 01:10:50 PM EDT

    Did anybody else notice another attempt at obfuscation by Ballmer? He refers to Linux as 'non-commercial', when in reality, there are numerous profitable businesses that have been built around open-source and Linux. Think Google, RedHat, Suse, SSH, Collabnet, Andover.Net, etc., and these ranks are swelling as time passes.

    Ballmer apparently does not understand, or pretends that he does not understand, the difference between 'free as in free beer' and 'free as in free speech'. Which is just as well - the less he is able to come to grips with the nature of the challenge, the easier it will be to overcome the monopoly of obsolete, crappy software from Redmond.

    Shameless plug: Check out my data security project at http://www.sourceforge.net/projects/qryptix

    There isn't anything that is remotely equivalent in the Microsoft world. The reason that several equivalents exist in the Linux world is that I (and others) were able to build on the contributions of numerous others, each an expert in his/her own domain, who GPLed their code and contributed it to the commons, helping build a system that is far more reliable and usable than any proprietary system built by central planning at Redmond.

    flacco 04/29/04 01:02:07 PM EDT

    >> Still, it's nice that Bill gates gives back and it's one thing I can respect about him. <<

    oh, PLEASE. gates didn't give a RAT'S ASS about charity until the lawsuits impressed upon him the importance of public image to the filthy rich.

    flacco 04/29/04 12:59:05 PM EDT

    >> Two errors. One, the IP in Linux doesn't belong to anyone except the (myriad) authors. Second, 95.3% of the world (i.e., everywhere except the USA) couldn't give a toss. <<

    never, EVER underestimate the abilities of over-priviledged megalomaniacs who gather in a room, united by a common threat that compromises their shared interest in squeezing money out of the underclass. this applies across borders too. you will see trade agreements that carry IP protection across borders, because exclusive rights to "IP" is a nice, leisurely, low-stress way of keeping the money rolling in.

    flacco 04/29/04 12:54:17 PM EDT

    >> Complete and utter OSS generally doesn't make business sense. Look at Apple. They don't open up OSX - they'd go out of business.<<

    open source is going to start at the bottom of the commodity software stack and work its way up. companies that sell commodity software are simply going to have to move higher up the stack as the layers below become open source, de facto standards that the entire industry contributes to and can use.

    some, like MS, will whine and fight and cry and pout, and throw things around and make a mess. but they, along with everyone else, is going to have to accept the fact that their survival depends on accepting the lower layers as standards and turn their development efforts to solve either more complex layers above, or to "get vertical" and start developing for markets that are less commodified.

    MS is fully capable of doing this, but they're spoiled by years of massive profits and a captive market. they will undoubtedly waste a huge amount of their and everyone else's time, money and energy resisting this fundamental change. but make no mistake - the future has already been written on this one.

    tim 04/29/04 12:47:04 PM EDT

    I would figure that a CEO of a major corperation would at least be honest in what he writes or at least make informed statements...

    His comment on the "illusion" of linux support smacks of misinformation or just plain old "I don't know what I am talking about" effects.

    Linux has Gobs and Gobs of support, espically in the form he is talking about.. a company you can call and pay money to in order to get telephone or on site support. REDHAT that small company he must have never heard about gives world class support that surpasses anything that Microsoft has ever given in support, as well as a myriad of other companies that are and have been selling support to linux users and installations for almost half a decade now.

    Please Mister Ballmer, do NOT lie to us or make statements that are untrue because of your lack of knowlege.. Linux has plenty of support. and it costs the same as windows support if you really wan't to pay for it.

    flacco 04/29/04 12:46:22 PM EDT

    >> What a damning indictment of capitalism when you can automatically presume that any large company is unethical by default. That's it's impossible to grow a company without playing dirty. <<

    i can't tell if you're defending MS or damning them, but - in a competitive capitalist society, how would a business that produces bits on CDs have 50 billion in the bank and profit margins of 85 PERCENT? is that supposed to happen in a competitive capitalist society?

    why is that a community-developed, free operating system is the only thing that even comes close to threatening MS's dominance? is that the sign of a healthy, competitive, capitalist economy?

    Ted Appleby 04/29/04 12:34:33 PM EDT

    Microsoft sounds just like the soviets - "they cannot possibly win, our central control is far superior". Like free markets, linux will win against microsoft's control-freak socialist world.

    Nicholas Donovan 04/29/04 12:34:28 PM EDT

    Honestly this looks like a deliberate leak. I wouldn't put it past Microsoft.

    They get increasingly hysterical as Linux continues to trounce them.



    Andy Crofts 04/29/04 12:13:39 PM EDT

    "By purchasing SCO they will suddenly get rights to the IP in Linux and can either sell it or shut it down and they have the money and legal department to do it."

    Two errors. One, the IP in Linux doesn't belong to anyone except the (myriad) authors.
    Second, 95.3% of the world (i.e., everywhere except the USA) couldn't give a toss.

    rms 04/29/04 11:51:28 AM EDT

    Well quite frankly I think MS can go fuck itself.

    GO GNAA!

    anonymous coward 04/29/04 11:05:45 AM EDT

    dave_bsr wrote:

    "In 100 years i'll look back and laugh, and say, you know, 100 years ago we were worrying about the MS/linux debate, and linux was growing like a monster. I'll be using something entirely new and snazzy - hopefully open source still...and loving it."

    I don't know how old you are but I'm certain 100 years from now you won't be living to laugh. You'll probably be laughing in your grave. :)

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