July 24, 2009

Why Linux will win: three is the magic number.


I'm not a hater, either.    But I'm about to make Microsoft *very* sorry it never gave me a chance as an employee, after I applied to work there so long ago.   I could have done wonderful things for you Microsofties;  I could and would have gladly helped you on your path in world dominance.  If only you'd allowed me that one small thing:  a paycheck.  

So you did one thing very wrong, and that was take me for granted.  All those hours of tech support I spent on the phone with people who paid boco bucks for *your* operating system . . . and what did I get out of it?  Umm . . . a broken foot.  Fired?  Homeless?  Unemployed?  Yeah, these are all things that I've been in my quest to be a good nerd.  

My code can kick your code's ass any day.  A friendly open letter for all of you.

Dear Microsoft: 

There are things that companies can do to keep a respectable standing in the world. 

For one, they can give free software to their developers *and* any person forced to work on their operating systems, whether as an employee or a volunteer or a student.  Users of the software can be allowed to change it at any time and for any reason.  Like a sweatshirt.  OSS started doing this years ago; they're already light-years ahead of you in the game. . . and you can't criticize a point of light you don't understand.  If you want to charge people for my time, help, and consulting other people how to use your software, you'd best give me a healthy portion of your revenues.  You've done no such thing:  is it really surprising at all to you that people don't like you? 

For two, companies wishing to keep a respectable status in the world can stop charging people money to get "certified." It's actually laughable to me how many companies exist solely to stamp a "MS Word" or "MS Excel" or even a (lol) "MS Access" stamp of approval on peoples' foreheads.  You do not own the business world; stop pretending like you do.   

For three, they can allow people to access the software on the hardware they already paid for.  This is the most obvious, but also the least obvious to proponents of Apple computing systems.  Respectable companies teach their users about the important differences between hardware and software -- and they never try to bundle one exclusively with the other.  The US capitalism system is about competition:  you can't prove you're a winner if you run a race alone.  You can't even prove that you're  a better sprinter than the other guy, if he made the soles of your shoes. 

Three is the magic number:  hardware, software and competence.  This is why Linux will win. 



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