What's new at the igloo?

That is right, Microsoft, just keep buying air!

Date/Time Permalink: 06/04/07 08:35:41 pm
Category: General

Oh, my ears and whiskers! Xandros followed Novell Suse's lead in selling out to Microsoft! Better jump on the bandwagon and boo...

But on second thought, let's not. I've been waiting for a good opportunity to clarify my attitude towards Novell Suse's deal, and now that another distro has hopped up to provide an excellent second example, I can paint two horses with one metaphor.

So: Why this doesn't matter.

  1. Two distros down, infinity to go. Check Distrowatch; we still have a supply of excess distros to throw around. Here, let us go remaster Knoppix ten times and make up new companies to sell Microsoft.
  2. Microsoft's "patent protection" is protection from the Boogeyman, nothing more. In the news this past month, I think we've hammered down that Microsoft was doing nothing but spreading FUD with it's briefcase full of XXX-number patents that Linux allegedly violates. Thank you, Senator McCarthy, you may sit down now!
  3. Think about the economics of supply and demand. Microsoft need only do this a few more times, and we'll have new opportunists all over Linux. Wanna make money fast? There's this free technology you can fork and start up your own distro; then all you have to do is loudly declare yourself a competitor of Microsoft and they show up at your door with a wheelbarrow full of large bills.
  4. Microsoft didn't need to buy the already-bought.

That last point needs expanding:

Quite a few have expressed the concern that fragmenting the Linux community is exactly what Microsoft had in mind. But this is actually like trying to fragment the Serbian community by buying out Croatia.

See, I'd like to see them buy Richard Stallman. Or Mark Shuttleworth. Or Ian Murdock. Or Patrick Volkerding. Or any of the other people who actually MAKE LINUX HAPPEN. That is the Linux community (which, by the way, includes OPEN Suse, which is not the same thing as Novell Suse). When you take a distro whose users have done nothing but complain about the Linux way from the moment they got here, and who have done everything they can to be Windows-wannabes as much as possible, you've not taken away any members of the community. What you have done, is shown up at our rave and driven off with the two pathetic leisure-suit creeps who were spoiling our party with their midlife crisis.

Thank for keepin' it real, guys! Peace out!

I, like the good Senator of earlier reference, and Mr. Ballmer the Chair Warrior, also have a list. It is a very short list; a list of about half a dozen more distros which I see as likely sell-out candidates. Like the other players in this fun little poker game, I won't show my list either. My reasons being that I don't want to give undue bad press to any distro that might change its ways.

But generally, here's the pattern which I expect future Microsoft-partnered distros to follow: It will be those who currently complain about everything Linux does, flame about things like command lines and compilers and pure GPL software and everything that makes Linux Linux, who aggressively imitate Windows in every possible way down to their desktop theme, who have been the source of all the inner-community strife in the first place. And most especially, those who take and take and give back nothing.

Perhaps the imaginative reader now has a list as well; no, I won't show you mine so don't show me yours. We know.

Microsoft, I still have a few more of these ticks on my back - a little to the right, please? Ahh, that's better!

PS On other sites, I have seen words to the effect of "there's going to be two Linuxs. Linux-Linux and MS-Linux. They'll RUIN our Linux!" To which, if I were not so weary, I would reply to each and every one individually, that they already tried that (or something like that) with Xenix. Which is where SCO came from.

Microsoft is just setting up Xenix II. Which makes perfect sense, if you take into account the huge cloud of crack smoke that's always hovered over Redmond.

Update: 6/14/07 Since it looks like it will be a waste to report every individual sell-out distro, Linspire just joined the Kool-Aid line. Oh, sure, like that was a big surprise...

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