Re: Linux? You're kidding right????????
From: Rex Ballard (r.e.ballard_at_usa.net)
Date: 7 Jun 2004 19:13:03 -0700
email@example.com (Tippy Stenstrude) wrote in message news:<firstname.lastname@example.org>...
> Why on earth would anyone consider using Linux?
> Linux is so bad it is virtually unusable.
> Surely there is a reason why:
> 1. Linux has been around for years
Actually some parts of "Linux" have been around for 20 years. Linux
includes many applications and libraries developed for the BSD UNIX
operating system. UNIX was widely used for numerous commercial and
research projects, until Linux began to capture some of this market
starting in the mid 1990s.
At the same time, Linux has been evolving constantly. For those
willing to assume some risks, version of Linux that are literally
hours old are available. For most people however, versions of Linux
which have been tested and validated for compatibility between
systems, drivers, and applications, seem to be the most practical
choice. Red Hat even offers a nice pair of options. They offer
Fedora which in relatively stable, secure, and reliable, but more
"leading edge", and then they offer "Enterprise" products which have
been hardened, tested, and stabilized for the extended life-cycles
typically encountered in corporate servers and workstations.
> 2. Linux is free
Linux is free, but you have the option of paying for support. We have
had numerous WinTrolls who have provided glowing examples of what
happens when you don't pay a little extra for such support as a tested
version configured to detect the most commonly used hardware,
help-line support for installation and configuration, and e-mail
support for notification of bug fixes and security upgrades. Many
people even pay extra for services such as automatic updates such as
those offered by Mandrake, Red Hat, and SuSE.
Often "Free" can be very expensive. Yes, you could download a copy of
debian from the web and install it on a "boat anchor" PC, but you're
more likely to have incompatibilites with newer hardware, applications
you purchase or download from other sites might not work, and
commercial applications might not work at all.
Linux has lots of software included in the distribution CDs or DVDs.
Most of this software is royalty free, or available for very
reasonable registration/support fees. In some cases, registration
results in additional upgrades that add very powerful features not
included in the "free" version, but even the free version is quite
functional. Open Office will work quite nicely as an Office Suite,
but at the same time, StarOffice has a rich set of import/export
capabilities that are far superior and often considered worth the cost
- especially when importing/exporting to/from recent versions of
Microsoft Office documents.
> 3. Linux still has less than 1 percent of the desktop market.
1%, 5%, 10%, 25%, even 35% depending on what you count and how you
count it. Many people who have only one PC have 2-3 Linux boxes and
don't even know it. Their router, cable modem, and WiFi boxes are
running Linux. Their Windows Applications are actually Linux
applications running under cygwin, most of their favorite web sites
are running Linux or UNIX. If someone pulled the plug on Linux/UNIX
tomorrow, we would be back in the stone age. Linux and UNIX are the
control centers for everything from our electrical power,
telecommunications, and transportation, to our trading systems, web
servers, and corporate portals.
In fact, most people spend the majority of their time interacting
with, and getting information from, Linux and UNIX systems.
> So why?
Just because Microsoft slaps their logo all over the video screen,
doesn't mean they deserve any credit for your productivity. IE was
based on UNIX code, specifically the VIOLA browser, which was then
ported to Windows 3.1 as Cello, then to NCSA Mosaic. At the time
Mosaic was written, the NCSA public license was very similar to the
GNU public license. When Spyglass accidentally sold it to Microsoft,
along with unrestricted modification rights which violated the NCSA
license, the NCSA rewrote their license, and the Open Source community
retaliated by publishing all fixes and enhancements to the browser and
server under GPL. Eventually there were so many patches that the
combined server became known as "a patchy server". One of the
developers created a more flexible license known as "the Artistic
License" and renamed the server Apache. Apache is now the leading
server on the market.
Microsoft uses a UNIX originated TCP/IP stack. They seem to be using
a UNIX based scheduler. They have also introduced a number of other
"innovations" which originated in as Open Source (Linux) code. Active
Directory is based LDAP and OpenLDAP, DHCP was based on RARP and
BOOTP, DCOM and COM+ were based on CORBA (MICO, Bonobo, J2EE, ...),
Optimizations made to Windows 2000 and Windows XP were based on
studies of the Linux library management and optimizations. Windows
itself is based on technology originally developed under Project
Athena. Microsoft Office is a poor imitation of several UNIX based
integrated toolkits including FrameMaker, SCO Open Desktop, and
Applix, all of which preceded Office by years.
The announcement of Windows NT itself was triggered by the very sudden
popularity of Sun's IPC and SLC "lunch box" and "pizza box"
The announcement of Windows XP was triggered by the very sudden surge
in Linux workstation licenses.
Microsoft has already been charged with fraud by the FTC during the
George H Bush administration. Microsoft was able to negotiate a
hand-slap settlement with the Clinton administration, the now famous
Windows 9x "Bundling" or "Enhancement" hearings were the net result.
Windows XP was primarily Microsoft's way to force corporate customers
and OEMs to accept licenses which prevented them from installing Linux
on Windows workstations (especially WINE with Windows 9x and bochs or
vmware with NT/2K).
In many cases, customers were told they didn't even have to install
the software, they just had to sign the new, more restrictive
licenses, and pay an increase that ranged from 10% to 300% depending
on your negotiating skills and how long you waited (the longer you
waited, the lower the price).
> You can't blame it all on Microsoft because if Chevy was giving cars
> away for free, Ford and Chrysler would be out of business.
Keep in mind that Ford continued selling the Model-T long after it was
"obsolete" compared to other competitor products. Ford controlled the
dealerships in most towns, and would often bankrupt new dealerships by
offering rediculous discounts shortly after the new dealerships
Ford didn't come out with the Model-A until the Depression forced them
to compete with themselves. The Model-T was hard to use, you had a
hand throttle, hand mixture, and manual spark advance. If any one of
these got to far out of kilter, the car would backfire, sounding like
gunfire, and frightening horses and babies. Hollywood used to
deliberatly backfire the Model-T as a comedy gag.
Microsoft isn't much different. They have introduced "innovations"
(usually stolen from Open Source developers who don't have the
resources to reverse-engineer the code and the legal resources to
press an effective lawsuit.
They introduce only what they absolutely have to, and only when their
market is directly threatened by a competitor which has captured a
substantial portion of a "niche" which could indicate a broader market
share collapse in the near future.
> So why isn't Microsoft out of business since Linux is free?
Microsoft has 4 elements in it's favor.
First, it has almost complete control of the OEM market. The OEM is
not allowed to install ANYTHING that Microsoft doesn't want installed.
They have admitted in federal court that they use blackmail,
extortion, fraud, and obstruction of justice to maintain this control.
The federal courts have ruled that these actions are completely
illegal, and that Microsoft in not allowed to illegally protect it's
monopoly power or to use it's monopoly power to exclude competitors
from other markets which could be affected (browsers, virtual
machines, co-resident operating systems such as Linux, windows
emulation, 3rd party applications and middleware such as Java, Notes,
Media Players...). Appearantly the rulings of a full panel of the
Appellate court have no value, because Microsoft has managed to
completely nullify the ruling through it's settlement with the
Second, Microsoft has a huge marketing budget, which it leverages very
effectively to control an even more huge marketing budget. Microsoft
has the ability to control the placement and content of nearly $200
billion in advertizing, including co-op ads, use of logo restrictions,
NDAs, and illegal inducements to collusion. In addition, Microsoft
can use this to control the editorial content of nearly every major
mass media outlet. Finally Microsoft has editorial control over 3
networks and close ties to a 4th. If Microsoft doesn't want a story,
such as Bill Gates admitting under oath to felony crimes, or viruses
that are causing $billions in damages in a single day, they can use a
combination of the BBS, MSNBC.com, MSNBC, CNBC, and FOX to redirect
the editorial focus to rumors, illegally obtained evidence, or just
some everyday occurrance like a missing person, a cute refugee, or a
kidnap/murder of a little girl that happened several years ago. Even
better is if there is some tittilation, sex, or scandal involved. No
one is immune, not even presidents Clinton and Bush.
Third - Microsoft has one of the most sophisticated legal teams in the
world. They are involved from the moment the very first discussion
with anyone who may have anything of value in terms of intellectual
property, to the final settlements in federal court with Attourneys
general from all over the U.S. and most of the rest of the world. If
Microsoft wants to interview you for a job, you have to sign a
nondisclosure agreement promising not to discuss anything, including
the nondisclosure agreement. Everytime you install a piece of
Microsoft Software, including support packs, security fixes, and even
"free" software, Microsoft extends it's legal rights, and reduces
yours. Most people don't even bother to read the license when it is
displayed. They assume it's like all of the others. In most cases,
if these EULA agreements were reveiwed by a lawyer or other competent
legal advisor, they would immediately tell you NOT to accept those
license terms. In many cases, you are granting Microsoft permission
to commit criminal acts against you, to violate court orders with your
permission, and even to damage your system willfully and maliciously
(because you are running 3rd party software they don't want you to
run). Microsoft could deliberately infect your system with a virus,
and you would have no legal recourse. In addition, nondisclosure
agreements, no reverse-engineering clauses, and indemnification
clauses prevent you from even discussing such actions with press,
prosecutors, law enforcement officers, even your own attourney.
Effectively, Microsoft maintains legal control over all information in
your computer, including any personal files (e-mail, web site history,
office documents, ...).
Finally, Microsoft maintains strict control - to the point of fraud,
over what information may be published to the general media. There is
nothing they can do about usenet newsgroups (except hire WinTrolls to
discredit the more persuasive posters), but if a person or company
publishes market research, benchmarks, bug reports, vulnerabilities,
or anything else that might "damage the brand value and image" of
Microsoft, action is swift and effective. Not only will you be
required to right a retraction, Microsoft controls the content, and
the basis on which you collect your new "correct" data. The classic
examples are things like the MindCraft benchmarks between Linux and
Windows. When Mindcraft compared a "stock" Windows system with a
"stock" Linux system, Linux was 20% faster. Microsoft told them that
they had made an error, and gave them new requirements, including a
bizarre configuration of hardware, an unstable configuration of the
Windows file-system, the slowest possible configuration of Linux, and
then re-ran the benchmarks.
Ironically, this only helped identify some seldom encountered but
legitimate bottlenecks, which the Linux team fixed in the 2.4 kernel.
Mindcraft ran similar benchmarks in which Linux was substantially
faster than Windows, but was not allowed to publish this new report -
because Microsoft refused to give them written permission.
> Answer is LINUX SUXXXXX.....
Actually, it's Microsoft that does the sucking. Microsoft sucks the
budgets of IT departments for as much as possible, limiting it's
ability to explore alternatives to Microsoft. Of course this also
limits the ability to do any other development of stategic value. If
you're spending $1 million/thousand users every year for Microsoft
related mandatory upgrades, maintenance, and lost time, there's not
much left for the B2B projects, or any other non-Microsoft related
Microsoft sucks the life out of the OEMs as well. When Microsoft is
offering you the choice of having the "freedom" to install Linux (but
with little or no Microsoft support for Windows as a result), or
getting discounts equivalent to 30% in the form of incentives for
using Windows-only hardware, Windows-only advertizing, Windows-only
web sites, Windows only phone sales, and Windows-only help-desks, and
you're already losing 2-3% on every machine you sell (profits come
through extended warrentees, MSN sign-up rebates, and other Microsoft
"kickbacks", you realize that to refuse the deal means that you will
be losing 30% or more on each machine. This is the ultimate "suck".
These tactics are effective. They are illegal (but you agreed to them
anyway, therefore cannot prosecute), they are direct violations of
court rulings against Microsoft (but again you waived your rights),
and you have no legal recourse other than to stop using Microsoft
products entitrely (which most organizations are unwilling to do).
Historically, each market in the IT industry has had a point where the
entire market "Snapped". When DEC kept wiping UNIX off of VAX systems
to install VMS and perform "service upgrades", guards were posted at
the entrance with orders to shoot anyone who tried to get to the
computer room without authorization. DEC eventually lost the whole
minicomputer market to UNIX.
In 1992, when IBM attempted to force all of their MVS customers to
shell out $6 million in upgrade fees for a machine which originally
cost only $4 million and was already 3 years old, customers began
exploring SMP and NUMA based UNIX systems.
Microsoft almost lost the market to Linux in 1993. When Microsoft
attempted to force corporate customers to upgrade to Windows NT 3.x,
even though it would not run most of the available 3rd party software,
Novell was waiting in the wings with UNIXWare, Linux was commercially
available, and Sun was pushing Solaris. Microsoft was able to
convince the board of directors at Novell that if they halted
development of the UnixWare workstation and fired all of the
workstation developers, that Microsoft would cancel it's development
of NT Server. Ray Noorda quit Novell, hired the laid off workers and
formed Caldera, which almost became a credible threat to NT 3.x.
Microsoft kept Linux and Solaris out of the press by pulling the
full-page ads it controlled from any magazine that praised Linux or
Solaris. The biggest casualty was Byte Magazine, which McGraw-Hill
had to sell because Microsoft was pulling ads from Business-Week and
many of it's other 160+ publications.
In mid 1994, Linux had plug-and-play capability. It was first
introduced by yddragasil, and was quickly adopted by Red Hat, who also
offered a more powerful "Package Manager" scheme. These two features
made it possible for Red Hat to quickly configure itself to almost any
of the commonly available computers of the time (VLB, EISA,
Micro-Channel, ESA) with minimal manual settings. It also had the
ability to transform a Windows 3.1 system into a "dual boot" system by
resizing the partitions and installing a "boot manager". Bill Gates
took one look at this, told his team that Chicago couldn't be released
until it not only had it's own plug-and-play, but also prevented Linux
from installing itself. Chicago was delayed almost 12 months as a
Even today, Microsoft has tried to use the XP EULA to prevent Linux
from taking control of the desktop. Microsoft insists that you can
only access an XP desktop from an XP machine. This means that you can
put XP on your main desktop and run Linux with VNC access, but you
can't legally use VNC on Linux to access a Windows XP worktation
display. The fact that this provision is illegal doesn't seem to
preven Microsoft from demanding it, and doesn't prevent corporate and
individual users from accepting it.
What is extraordinary isn't that Linux only has 3, 5, or 15% of the
market, but that it has managed to capture 3, 5, or 15% of the market
with minimal resources, minimal advertizing, minimal organization, and
has done so against a behemoth monopoly that made AT&T seem benign.