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John C. Dvorak's Microsoft Murder Plot: "How to Kill Linux"

How MS Might Lop Off Linux's Head, with "MS-Linux"

John C Dvorak's PC Magazine article called "How to Kill Linux," introduced the world to what he called "the lopped-off head approach" - the head being that of Linux, and the beheader being Microsoft.

Dvorak's notion is that, since the key to competitive success is to gain dominant market share with a proprietary product, all Microsoft needs to neuter Linux is to usher "MS-Linux" into the world, then cut the driver layer out of Windows and attach it to Linux directly.

"If Microsoft actually produced an MS-Linux that was the standard Linux attached to the driver layer of Windows, giving users full Plug and Play (PnP) support of all their peripherals, nobody would buy any other Linux on the market."

With that one driver element proprietary, in Dvorak's view, the murder plan might succeed, with Microsoft taking its distribution of Linux and selling it as a "lopped-off head."

Dvorak's key explanation is here:

"That means tearing away the entire top of Linux from the driver layer - and that would be MS-Linux. Users who needed to add the driver layers would be offered the standard Linux driver package, which would be attached with a utility program. The utility would sew the drivers back into Linux, resulting in an OS that would be more or less the same as everyone else's. Or the user could pay for the Windows drivers and attach those to MS-Linux, resulting in an OS that had the PnP benefits of Windows."

The suggestion naturally met with instant dislike and horror worldwide, with Dvorak being called everything from "strange" to "mad."

Strangest of all perhaps was the cloak-and-dagger way Dvorak chose to introduce the whole topic into his column. "While chatting over dinner with the executives of a middleware company during the recent RSA conference for encryption and security in San Francisco," he wrote, "I heard about a secret project. It concerned the development of a version of Linux that runs smoothly as a task under Windows."

The middleware company is never mentioned, but how many middleware companies are left, and of them how many think about Linux 24 x 7. We leave you, as ever, to draw your own conclusions.

John C. Dvorak's Bio: (http://www.dvorak.org/blog)

Current PC Magazine Columnist writing Inside Track, an essay and a weekly online column. These articles are licensed around the world. Also a weekly columnist for CBSMarketwatch, Info! (Brazil) and BUG Magazine (Croatia). Previously a columnist for Forbes, Forbes Digital, PC World, MacUser, PC/Computing, Barrons, Smart Business and other magazines and newspapers. Former editor and consulting editor for Infoworld. Has appeared in the New York Times, LA Times, SF Examiner, Vancouver Sun. Was on the start-up team for CNet TV as well as ZDTV. AT ZDTV (and TechTV) was host of Silicon Spin for four years doing 1000 live and live-to-tape TV shows. Also was on public radio for 8 years. Written over 4000 articles and columns as well as authoring or co-authoring 14 books.

2003 Award winner of the American Business Editors Association's national gold award for best online column of 2003.

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