MS : Linux is the threat.
November 13, 2001 8:37 AM   Subscribe

MS : Linux is the threat. According to the Register, Linux has been upgraded from a threat to the threat.

I'm waiting for Ballmer to call Linux the Evil Empire.
posted by jragon (35 comments total)
firdst p0st !!!
posted by bradlauster at 8:47 AM on November 13, 2001

secdond p0st!!! *yawn*

Does that make Linus Torvalds the "Evil One" to M$?
posted by msacheson at 8:50 AM on November 13, 2001

And this is a surprise to whom?

Don't worry. MS will soon be purchasing a DMCA-type law to make linux illegal.
posted by yesster at 8:56 AM on November 13, 2001

Agreed...nothing unexpected here. But maybe we can make this thread fun: Anyone care to engage in wild speculation about MS' next move to defeat "the peoples' OS?"
posted by bradlauster at 9:03 AM on November 13, 2001

I find this whole thing funny. The original email memo says "Linux is the threat" and then the Register says "Linux is the threat (emphasis added)" and then the headline of the article says "Linux is *THE* Threat".

Talk about making your own news...
posted by kfury at 9:06 AM on November 13, 2001

...Microsoft Windows Division Veep Brian Valentine exclaims in a confidential memo to his Sales Brownshirts obtained by The Register. Well the register (my downgrading of their capitalization) is clearly giving an unbiased view on the whole thing. It destroys any credibility in the story when the above appears in the very first paragraph of the story. Makes you wonder about the context for a start, let alone factual basis.

One day news will return to being news and cease being editorial opinion. Oh okay, I'm being naive, it won't, but I'm allowed to live in hope.
posted by Option1 at 9:07 AM on November 13, 2001

They could figure out a way to make windows not work with a boot loader (lilo, grub). People who do not want to make the leap to a system completely sans Windows would be SOL. This would stop a lot of people from even trying Linux.
posted by Localemperor at 9:09 AM on November 13, 2001

Microsoft desperately wants to get out of the business of selling bits (software) and into the business of selling content. That's really all .NET is: a way to make people keep paying for stuff they used to only pay once for. The problem here is that people now have tons of choices they didn't have before -- not just Linux, but lots of other places. OS'es and application software are passe, but necessary to use as a springboard to other things.

Microsoft obviously fears Linux because it's cheap and provides a perfectly good foundation for content-delivery systems (TIVO is a good example). Another problem is that no one controls Linux; the APIs are generated from industry standards and publicly-available sources. It's a great way to build reliable and inexpensive systems; it's a lousy way to make money (as the hundreds of "Linux companies" have found out).

We are at an interesting crossroads -- do we turn computer "content" into something like television or magazines, where we pay for content but never "own" anything? Or do we move content into the public domain, where no-one "owns" it but it doesn't generate much revenue either? How will artists and engineers be incentivized to create without the promise of payment?
posted by mrmanley at 9:17 AM on November 13, 2001

How about just letting the Slashdot-style evangelists continue to turn people off with their remarkably overinflated ego? I am aware of a healthy handful of people (myself included) who have sworn off Linux partially due to the bullshit attitude shown by "veterans" when we, as relative newbies, ask questions they deem as silly. Of course, the pathetic memory performance and assortment of terrible desktop applications makes looking elsewhere easier as well.

In a server environment, FreeBSD is, in my opinion, the only choice and Windows 2000 is the best option for desktops. Go ahead, tell me that Win2000 is unstable -- my current uptime is 34 days on a machine that runs Photoshop, Premier, Sound Forge and a whole host of others. I couldn't even get to a week running Slackware/KDE.

posted by Electric Jesus at 9:18 AM on November 13, 2001

Transparent troll. 'E' for effort. What gave you away is the notion that you can't grok Linux, can't run Slack/KDE for over a week, yet you bubble over FreeBSD. FreeBSD is great, but it's leagues above your grasp.
posted by RavinDave at 9:28 AM on November 13, 2001

I'm in the process of learning Linux, so perhaps this makes me a "Slashdot-style evangelist," but I have to say that I have found people who have previously installed Linux as enourmous help. I am impressed by the community that exists around Linux. I realize that there are egos out there, but I haven't seen anything to compare with the arrogance that comes out of Redmond.

To name a few of the reasons that I decided to move to Linux (and Opera for that matter): Smart Tags, MS's inclusion of Photo and music software in Windows XP, and the great msn browser shutout. I simply want nothing to do with a company that such as Microsoft.
posted by jeffvc at 9:31 AM on November 13, 2001

Linux is the evil, oppressing, terrorist, dishonest, and immoral threat.
posted by trioperative at 9:35 AM on November 13, 2001

Can I ask you guys (who know more about OS's than me) what you think of the RTOS's "VxWorks" and "pSOS"? I know a little about the embedded sector, and it's interesting that Microsoft (the classic 800-lb gorilla) and Linux get all the press, but Wind River's OS products ("VxWorks" and "pSOS") dominate the embedded market. Is this impression correct, or am I mistakenly comparing apples and oranges, i.e. desktop vs. embedded markets? Thanks for your replies.
posted by msacheson at 9:40 AM on November 13, 2001

One day news will return to being news and cease being editorial opinion. Oh okay, I'm being naive, it won't, but I'm allowed to live in hope.

In defence of The Register, I've always seen it to be a genial transplant of the classic British red-top (eg The Sun, The Mirror, The Sport) to the IT world. These tabloids have a certain style: journalistic integrity and subdued editorial opinion do not play any part in it. Sensationalism, piss-taking a-plenty and genuinely awful headline puns from the sub-editors do. It helps to read it in this context.
posted by dlewis at 9:45 AM on November 13, 2001


Yeah, I forgot that anyone who has a shred of objectivity left is a troll. It seems clear that your nose was stuck too high to notice that I said I use FreeBSD on servers. Servers, as you may be aware, are set up much differently than desktop machines. Linux and BSD on the desktop are disappointing at the very, very least.

But, feel free to make assumptions because I don't toe the stupid Linux party line by default. I'm willing to bet that a good chunk of those who do haven't actually tried to do anything constructive on the allegedly "revolutional" Linux desktop OS.

Go back to Slashdot.

posted by Electric Jesus at 9:49 AM on November 13, 2001

Hey EJ:

At least Slashdot got there first. Basically I think the article and trolling is totally appropriate to slashdot, but if that's what you look for, that's where you should go.

MeFi should be about more than this kind of OS strutting.
posted by kfury at 10:08 AM on November 13, 2001


of course, servers are not by necessity set up any differently than a desktop computer. i'm sorry that you think Linux and BSD as desktop computers are disappointing; i don't agree. (I think kde is quite decent, if boring; other schemes are nicer.)

why you get on the moral high horse about who belongs on slashdot, i don't know. that sounds like baiting on your part, really...
posted by moz at 10:13 AM on November 13, 2001

Wow EJ, way to kill the thread. Do you work for Microsoft?
posted by jeffvc at 10:40 AM on November 13, 2001

EJ: How about just letting the Slashdot-style evangelists continue to turn people off with their remarkably overinflated ego?

RavinDave: What gave you away is the notion that you can't grok Linux, can't run Slack/KDE for over a week, yet you bubble over FreeBSD.

You just can't find writers who can do dialogue any more.
posted by rodii at 10:43 AM on November 13, 2001

Electric Jesus --

Just looking at my historic uptime command that I saved from my pals linux system:

$ uptime
1:55pm up 464 days, 2:19, 7 users, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

Y R tr0ll1ng!
posted by n9 at 10:57 AM on November 13, 2001

mrmanley: in regards to the content question, i think who owns it is largely academic, because it's more a question of control. a legal definition is only practical if enforcable. we're definitely at a legislative crossroads, but i'd argue the cow has left the barn and it won't come home, so shutting the doors now is an exercise in pretend.

as for incentivisation, i think community currencies are an intriguing concept of payment, which could offer alternative exchange for an electronic medium.
posted by kliuless at 11:05 AM on November 13, 2001

If the open code community of developers would have spent its time developing something decent for the "end user" and not bickering about how MS is smothering them, Linux would have already taken over MS.

Buncha Whiners.
posted by adnanbwp at 11:10 AM on November 13, 2001


You are comparing apples and oranges.

The embedded market obeys a whole other set of rules those affecting Linux and Windows (although that doesn't stop advocates from trying to sell Linux and Windows in embedded applications). Windriver has a good name in the embedded world, as far as I know.

The number of embedded processors in use is huge, but this doesn't seem to enter the mainstream computer news. I have a feeling that the embedded folks have their own secret network where they talk all day long about things embedded.

Now back to your regularly scheduled desktop and server trolling and OS-bashing...
posted by websavvy at 11:47 AM on November 13, 2001

When a windows server running postifx, apache and shell accounts can match this on a $500 box (not to mention the fact that the software is free) , I'll switch...

rabbit@pita:~$ w
12:12pm up 269 days, 11:24, 3 users, load average: 0.27, 0.19, 0.12

The uptime would be higher, but I rebooted to do a kernel upgrade. The uptime before that was in teh neighborhood of 300+ days.

This box would have cost something like $1000 to be worthy of XP/2k, not to mention license fees for exchange, IIS, etc....
posted by jaded at 11:51 AM on November 13, 2001


Actually, I swore off Slashdot just because of the nonstop circlejerking and am somewhat disappointed to see it popping up here. Every OS has its place and it's a real shame to see that the same Microsoft jealousy that ruined Slashdot is slowly dripping into formerly openminded places like this.


Yeah, that's pretty impressive to keep a completely unloaded system running for 400 days. Bully for you. Try doing stuff on it now and then and we'll see what happens.

While I didn't start off trolling this thread, I obviously am now. If this inexplicable blindness to the actual positive points of anything Microsoft comes from ethical reasons, fine, but it seems to me that this is all about popularity instead of anything factual. I'll bet that if I were able to pull any Microsoft markings off IE and show it to half you zealots it would suddenly seem like the cat's ass. Why? Because it's actually a good browser regardless of who makes it and all this nay-saying comes from nothing but politics.

No, I don't work for Microsoft and no, I don't even really like them as a company. Maybe I am, however, the only one around here who remembers the obviously bullshit "best tool for the job" axiom that Linux zealots pretend to adhere to.

posted by Electric Jesus at 12:17 PM on November 13, 2001

Anyone who actually read the article before spouting would know that the memo The Register is quoting is appended in full at the end. ("Objective" news sources might find this a useful practice.)

MSFT would rather be in the middle of every content transaction, bumming a quarter of a cent from both sides, than bother with creating the content, where the Redmond monoculture tends to get blindsided by cultural issues and the potential legal liability is much larger.

The conundrum of the professional web -- would you make catalog pages (or code that generates them) if you weren't getting paid? -- continues. But the amateur web will thrive if it isn't restricted into corporate-accepted pathways.
posted by retrofut at 12:45 PM on November 13, 2001


Personally I think that IE is exactly like my cat's ass: It stinks, it is connected to something that I don't like, smelly things come out of it that I have to clean up and it seems like every time I look up there it is.

Also, your comment regarding my server as unloaded is ludicrous. The previous posters dismissal of your opinion seemed rude at the time but it looks like he might have a point. Load within limits (less than 3-8) has very very little to do with system stability on UNIX like OSes. Also, the uptime was captured right before the system was rebooted and had been removed from production. Also, if the system was _truck_ and was say serving web pages out of cache it would have a zero load (my old boss wanted our webservers to read as close to 0.00 as possible during normal operations to ensure we had processor overhead for heavy load.) And in any case the uptime load summary in no way indicates the wonderous and varied history of more than a year of uptime. Also -- one of the reasons that there are not better productivity apps on UNIX is that most of the people that write code on these OSes (historically) have been happy as clams with vi(m)/emacs and a bunch of rxvts on a screen, running a console mail apps. Old school UNIX software is *good* stuff. You have to learn to use it is all. Learning to use well designed software that favors flexibility over a quick learning curve is good for you like broccoli is. You learn to use a computer better and smarter and if you are like me you eventually learn that you simply cannot do without your command line.

I would tell everyone that has the time and considers themselves to be computing enthusiasts to learn a UNIX-like OS. The only thing that it costs is time and it is time well spent. The road is long, but good things come to those that wade through it. Hell, four years ago I used macs exclusively, then I installed linux on a box my pal gave me, and I hated it, then I loved it, then I hated it, then I LOVED it. I moved out of a shitty desktop support manager position (that I had had for a _long_ time) into the sysadmin pool at and learned a ton, then went to grad school for computer science on full scholarship and now I'm a software developer at NYT!
posted by n9 at 1:52 PM on November 13, 2001

If you want to run desktops and servers, obviously the best OS for the job is Mac OS X, combining the speed, power, and stability of a Linux/BSD machine with much more usability and compatibility than a Windows machine. Unfortunately, the price of such a box is also derived by adding a Linux box's and a Windows box's.
posted by donkeymon at 1:58 PM on November 13, 2001

Are people so wrapped up in their OS war that they're not even noticing the exceedingly weird "tattoo on the butt" theme recurring through the memo? I found it positively disturbing. "John sold a shitload of Wintel solutions! That's one less tattoo on his ass!"

posted by MonkeyMeat at 2:18 PM on November 13, 2001

Funny, no, disturbing, how all this computer OS crap continues to attract such obsessive attention. I think Ballmer incorporates this mania quite well. (Stop the world, I want to get off!)
posted by mmarcos at 3:54 PM on November 13, 2001

Warning: Lots of opinions follow --

Let's see if I can make sense tonight; my brain's oatmeal after spending two days trying to armwrestle Windows 2000 Server into submission (and to be fair, it's not the server that's the's Jakarta Tomcat and ArcIMS not playing nice on the server).

First, Microsoft has done some darn good stuff. Let's face it...they've made computers available, appealing and affordable to the unwashed masses. Not only that, but they've made us perceive them as necessary in our homes...another appliance much like the television or coffee maker. Sure, we could live without them...but we don't want to. They've also made them relatively easy to use on a purely personal level. You can sit grandma down at a PC and have her sending email, looking for recipes and writing docs in Word in no time. No, they didn't invent all this stuff...not much innovation there...but they recognized it as good and put it all together in a neat little shiny package.

What they've missed, in my opinion, is that sooner or later people (the unwashed, again) want a choice.

Localemperor: Windows NT and 2000 already don't work with Lilo or have to edit the boot.ini.

Electric Jesus: I'm sorry that was your experience with the Linux community...and aware that that has been the experience of far too many people in the past. Perhaps I've been exceptionally lucky, but my experience since starting to play with Linux a few months ago has been excellent, which leads me to my next opinion:

The Linux community in general (and I'm ignoring all those leet 14-yr-olds on Slashdot) appears to be finally growing up. It was bound to happen sooner or later, I suppose. Even scripties have to graduate from high school eventually. Projects like Linux Newbie and The Linux Documentation Project are springing to life all over the net, along with irc channels like #linuxhelp. And they're starting to take note of things like standards and interoperability. Which brings us right back to what so many people want. Choice. The choice to run any operating system I choose...with any desktop I choose...on any hardware I choose.

Right...I'm wandering into a rant, so I think I'd better stop right there. Sorry 'bout the length.

posted by NsJen at 6:27 PM on November 13, 2001

So if I wanna start trying linux what should I look at?
posted by kramer_101 at 4:56 AM on November 14, 2001

I'm running Redhat7.2 on this PC and I'm very happy with it.
posted by salmacis at 5:39 AM on November 14, 2001

kramer_101: The two most highly recommended for someone new to Linux, especially someone (like me) accustomed to Windows, are SuSE and Mandrake. I've tried them both and been impressed by how easy they were to install and configure. I bought the boxed sets of both because they came with documentation (and lots of extra software).

I would be comfortable handing my mother-in-law Mandrake to install and run. It was really that easy. However, the documentation read like it had been written by a pair of 20-yr-olds at a kitchen table at 3am.

While SuSE is as easy to install, the documentation (4 books and a graphical installation guide) has obviously been written by professionals. I just got the latest release, SuSE 7.3, and it's a pretty mature OS.

Something to note about both distros is that they not only recognized all of my hardware but had the drivers for it. That's something I can't say for Windows. I've been a bit leery about trying to install Redhat because of rumored lack of drivers. I suspect that's changing rapidly though, and I'll probably try Redhat sometime in the next few months.
posted by NsJen at 6:29 AM on November 14, 2001

For what it's worth, Mandrake was the easiest distro I've ever tried. I didn't like SuSE nearly as much, although it was interesting.
posted by jragon at 6:54 AM on November 14, 2001

« Older   |   Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments