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[Debian]: MS hat da ein Problem...


                Who's afraid of big, bad Linux?
                By Mary Jo Foley, Sm@rt Reseller 
                October 1, 1998 8:48 AM PT

                                       In its
filing last week
                                       with the
U.S. Securities
                                       said it
sees Linux as a
threat to the
dominance of
                                       Windows. I
don't buy it.

                If you accept Microsoft's claim at
face value, you might
                conclude that Microsoft is
actively seeking ways to
                emulate the free-software model
that's allowed Linux to
                capture an increasing number of
hearts and minds. In spite
                of a brief attempt to capitalize
on the appeal of open
                source code by Microsoft president
Steve Ballmer, there
                are no indications that
Microsoft's thinking about opening
                up access to its source code. In
fact, in recent months,
                both AT&T and Bristol Technology
have opted to sue
                Microsoft for allegedly failing to
fulfill its contractual
                obligations by supplying them with
source. Source code
                openness doesn't seem high on
Microsoft's agenda.

                If you still insist on believing
that Microsoft is actually
                afraid of Linux, you might
conclude that it's investigating
                ways to cash in on the Linux
phenomenon. But the
                possibility of Microsoft doing
ports of SQL Server,
                Exchange, Office or any other
Microsoft apps to any
                operating systems other than
Microsoft's own (with the
                minor exception of Apple's MacOS),
seems remote. And
                any kind of investment or purchase
in a Linux or open
                source vendor by Microsoft seems
laughable. Microsoft
                hasn't issued any press releases
lately highlighting its
                recruitment of a top Linux
executive or its displacement in
                a key account of Linux by NT.

                If Linux really might dampen
Windows and NT sales,
                wouldn't Microsoft be hard at work
developing a Linux
                clone designed to splinter the
market, as it did with Java,
                for example? Or wouldn't it at
least be readying its own
                better-late-than-never competitor
as it did in the browser

                Microsoft has an undisputable case
of Unix envy, but it's
                Solaris, SCO Unix, HP-UX and AIX
that Microsoft is
                targeting, not Red Hat Linux or
Caldera OpenLinux.

                Linux lovers: don't flame me. I am
not discounting the fact
                that Linux is the only version of
Unix that's actually
                gaining market share right now,
according to research
                estimates. I am not disputing that
Linux has got a strong
                and vocal following among
resellers and users. I am not
                dismissing the importance of
investments by Netscape,
                Oracle, Informix, Sybase, IBM and
the impressive list of
                companies jumping on the Linux
bandwagon as of late.

                But how much of this fervor is
simply the members of the
                good, old Anyone-But-Microsoft
movement hoping and
                praying that some company -- any
company -- will rise up
                to give Microsoft a run for its
money? I'd also remind
                anyone who has somehow managed to
forget that
                coalitions, especially those
involving Unix players, have
                succumbed to repeated untimely
deaths. Do you really
                want IBM, Oracle and Netscape
running Linux?

                And to those who hold up Intel's
recent discovery of the
                importance of Linux as
indisputable proof that Microsoft's
                empire will crumble as a result of
Linux domination, I'd
                offer a more cynical take. I'd
suggest that Intel is engaged
                in a major publicity campaign to
distance itself from
                Microsoft, while behind the
scenes, it's business as usual
                for the Wintel duopoly. If it
takes a little investment in Red
                Hat to throw the FTC off in its
antitrust investigation of
                Intel, that's a small price for
Intel to pay.

                Am I missing something? Do you see
any verifiable signs
                that Microsoft fears the Linux
wolves at the door? Or is
                this just wishful thinking?
Talkback below and let me

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