__/ [rex.ballard@xxxxxxxxx] on Monday 20 February 2006 14:41 \__
> If you think about it, it makes perfect sense for Microsoft to do this.
> They know that they won't be converting anyone who has already
> implemented Linux and has been using it for any period of time -
> typically after about 90 days of regular use, there isn't much they can
> do. Most people who have really USED Linux (as opposed to just
> attempting to install it without assistance on incompatible
> hardware...) for this long know exactly what it can and can't do,
> exactly what it does well, and exactly what Windows does well. They
> will use the tools they feel work best for their business solution.
> Over time, more and more work gets migrated to Linux and Linux
> continues to grow at exponential rates.
> On the other hand, if this is someone who has never used Linux before,
> has never successfully installed a Linux system, has never even had any
> real "hands on" experience of Linux, and has just begun the research
> and evaluation process, putting those ads for their "Fast Facts" can
> often be quite effective at "slowing" the migration. Furthermore,
> Microsoft has many loyal customers who will lobby aggressively for
> Microsoft, and the "Fast Facts" has been an effective tool in helping
> those Windows advocates promote Windows over Linux and Unix.
I think you are alluding to a strong point, but it fails to address another
culprit, or a rotten factor at the least. Google have converted their
supposedly helpful SERP's (search engine results pages) into billboards that
serve only those with deep pockets. This can truly obscure the real
information, which is embedded in the body of the page. Some sponsored links
have begun to appear 'in-line' more frequently, for after all, that's where
the big bucks lie: clickthroughs.
This is (yet) not as bad as censoring search results and massaging the output
of an independent algorithm, which relies muchly on backlinks and thus
public opinion. Google have chosen a particular path by complying with the
Chinese government, so who is to tell that they will not exclude the GPL and
GNU-related material if the US government and its lobbyists (money-making
vendors of closed-source software) labelled it "communism"?
> Even Microsoft is beginning to realize however, that Linux isn't going
> away, and that their best strategy may be coexistence. Most computers
> manufactured within the last 2-3 years have more than enough CPU speed
> and hard drive space to run both Windows and Linux concurrently, and if
> the machine has enough memory, there is almost no difficulty in running
> both concurrently and getting excellent performance out of both.
Very true. VMWare is now free; expertise if more prevalent when it comes to
dual-boot setups. One can simply call a neighbour over to discover what
Linux has to offer, all owing to the comforting dual-boot, which leaves
Windows nearby, as a (un)safe haven. [cynicism /]
> The advantage of this approach for Microsoft is that they get to stay
> in the game. If OEMs can offer a license and media kit which can be
> used to run Windows as the "host", or as the "client" or even just the
> libraries for WINE, the OEM pays one price, preinstalls Windows,
> includes installation media (or offers it at a download location) and
> the end users can then install the Linux distribution of their choice,
> and configure the clients of their choice - which means that there is
> still VALUE in purchasing the laptop or desktop or server with Windows
> included in the OEM offering.
> It's pretty easy to see how this "Hybrid" will be desirable to many
> people, including both corporate customers as well as end users. By
> purchasing PCs with OEM Windows licenses, adding Linux to them, and
> offering these hybrid solutions, they can gave the "best of both
> worlds". Having a Linux "host" gives you Linux security and flexible
> display capabilities, and having Windows Clients means that you can
> eliminate many DLL conflicts and many of the backup/recovery problems
> associated with more traditional Windows configurations.
> Having Windows as the Host and Linux as the client means that you can
> run the popular video games and graphics intensive Windows applications
> and still have the tools and applications available on Linux.
The latter point explains why so many people still choose to retain their
> The big diferentiator will ultimately be service. Linux vendors
> compete agressively on the services and support they offer, primarily
> because that is their PRIMARY source of revenue. Most Linux
> distributors don't make that much of their revenue on "License Fees" or
> "Royalties". On the other hand, they make nearly all of their revenue
> on services and support. Red Hat for example will sell a copy of Linux
> for about $100 (for desktop) - and then offer support subscriptions for
> about $100/usr/year that makes "versions" almost irrelevant. Red Hat
> keeps their customers up to date through the subscription services.
> Those who want to use Fedora Core for development and evaluation
> puposes get a preview of what will be offered to the subscribers, but
> there is also less testing of the upgrades and support packages, which
> means that there can be some "clinker" versions that don't work as
> smoothly as the versions that actually make it through the QA process
> to the "Production" version.
> This is very important - most people running PRODUCTION systems, where
> real revenue and real business critical applications are running are
> far more concerned that any security fixes or upgrads do not disrupt
> the operation of a system that has been working flawlessly - than they
> are in having the latest features and fixes for "theoretical"
> The irony is that Microsoft is also beginning to play well in this
> game. The automatic update services provided for Windows XP are quite
> good, and do handle a number of support issues which had previously
> been a real problem for Microsoft. The other side of this whole
> picture is that Microsoft has done an excellent job of turning customer
> support calls and questions into software "helps", including context
> sensitive helps - in most cases almost eliminating the need to call a
> "help desk" or even consult a printed "user's manual". Clippy - the
> dancing paper-clip can be really annoying at times, but at the same
> time, there are many times when he pops up to give you the kind of
> useful advise that a veteran Windows user might give to someone who
> keeps doing something "the hard way" over and over again.
> For the OEMs, this "hybrid" or "virtual machine" solution is also a
> win, it creates demand for the bigger faster machines, the Intel and
> AMD 64 bit chips would be much more marketable and much more in demand
> users wanted/needed that larger address bus and memory capability to
> access more memory - because they wanted to run applications on
> multiple virtual machines. It's not that hard to imagine laptops with
> 4-8 gigabytes of memory running multiple Windows and Linux VMs of about
> 512 megabytes each.
> Ironically, both Microsoft and Linux are becoming much more aware of
> the resources and performance issues. The days of a single operating
> system grabbing and hoarding the resources of the machine, and refusing
> to give them up are pretty much over. Most of the time, there is very
> little gain in hoarding the memory, and the VM manager can force limits
> on the various kernels and VMs.
> These "hybrids" could become a very exciting new growth engine for the
> economy as well as the IT Industry.
That's now what 2 companies (at the least) would have you believe.
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