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Dare we hope?

Date/Time Permalink: 04/06/06 01:57:58 pm
Category: General

Will Linux ever be able to think clearly for two minutes without the distraction of a vicious little Microsoft biting it's ankles? CIO.com brings us tidings of a possible truce evolving. I've heard peace-rumors before, however, so this time I'm saying, "I'll believe it when I see it."

But *apparently* (I checked the date on the story, and it's not April 1st...) Microsoft is putting up a Linux website...which will be about working together with Open Source/Free software. I know; I, too, am waiting for the punchline. Of course, I *have* been saying for, at quickest count, about ten years that Microsoft has only been hurting itself trying to kill Linux. To reiterate:

(a) Dual-boot Linux and Microsoft on the same machine and watch Linux be the best friend your Windows partition ever had. No security tool beats having Linux mount and check the Windows partition on every boot. Write some custom scripts to maintenance Windows' .com and .ini files, screening them for malware hooks. Use a Bash script to scrub cookies out of the various win32 hiding places. It's been a while, but truly, the fact that Linux is the best anti-malware for Windows stands out as the reason we kept Windows around as long as we did.

(b) Linux steal market-share from Windows? Don't be naive! Everybody who likes Linux has already switched. The people who "just want something that works!" and in fact have no business being on a computer (everything they want to do with a computer can be done on WebTV or a cell phone, I mean), and are willing to pay ANY amount of money to avoid having to think at all, will stick with Windows. Here, I'll go you one further: release your code, Microsoft! License it under the GPL and let me download a tarball. Guess what: you'd *still* have a good paying market share, because how many users out there would know source code if it walked up and danced the Watusi for them? They don't want a tarball or source code; they want to click the mouse... RIGHT NOW! They'll still pay. Meanwhile, people who know programming and have complained about the problems in Microsoft's programs can now dive in and fix them.

(c) Microsoft has smeared itself with years of bad karma through it's maniacal campaign to exterminate all software but it's own. As they and Rome have found out, the global Empire business is hard to maintain. Microsoft can have plenty of business for it's own, and get better PR for itself by becoming the friendlier, more co-operative company.

These points I've spoken many a time, along with my own part (shared with many other Linux users) that I wouldn't have nearly the problem with Microsoft, if only Microsoft didn't have such a huge problem with me for the "crime" of running Linux. Get Microsoft over it's insecurity complex, and 90% of why they've been considered evil all these years miraculously goes away. Consider the case of IBM and Sun Microsystems; in their day they, too, were regarded as villains, until they made amends and made the FOSS community their friend. Suddenly, they're not such bad guys, after all!

But I don't get my hopes up too high. Some mules are so stubborn that it takes breaking a few sticks across them before they pay attention. I don't think Microsoft has had nearly enough of a drubbing to cure it of fighting. Instead, I take this as a sign that it might happen sometime in my children's lifetime. All they are doing so far is talking the talk.

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