This is a non-story. Or is it? According to the press announcement for the WebMasters
2001 Exposition in London in October, Microsoft would be providing copies of a couple of .NET-related items, including the Linux Migration Guide: "The Guide contains technical information to
aid developers and IT specialists in migrating Linux e-commerce
solutions to a Microsoft web solutions platform."
And, according to the program for the expo, Microsoft had a booth.
However, there was no Microsoft booth, nor were any of the company's
representatives or spokesmen anywhere in sight, except during the
seminars they were conducting. When we contacted one of the
company's offices in the United Kingdom and asked to speak to a public relations
spokesman, true to form for Microsoft, we were connected to the Human
Resources department. Oops.
When the event organizer tried to chase up a Microsoft spokesperson or
seminar speaker, we were told the guy couldn't or wouldn't talk.
During the expo, I spent all day trying to track down one of these wondrous
migration publications. They proved to be as elusive as company personnel. The
event organizer then informed me the company had apparently decided,
after publication of the press announcement, not to distribute "The
Guide" and not to take a booth.
So rather than go away empty-handed, we tracked down
spokespeople from two major Linux distribution companies. The first, Benoy
Tamang, v.p. of marketing for Caldera, was asked, "Why would Microsoft want or
feel a need to give out a migration guide for Linux to .NET?" He said it
was in the best tradition of Microsoft to attempt to instill FUD
wherever possible, that "their past actions have visibly been to incite fear,
uncertainty and doubt on any threat, especially Linux."
Tamang continued: "Along those same lines, they have frequently said
the .NET platform is their main focal point. Microsoft is no shrinking
wall-flower when it comes to aggressive marketing tactics, and this
would appear to fall in that same realm."
The other Linux company rep agreed to speak only on terms of
anonymity. When she was asked the same question, she speculated, "Because they
realize the Linux market is growing. They would like to find a way to
get some of the Linux market back to Microsoft."
But, what percentage of Linux users do you think would be crazy enough
to be interested in migrating to Microsoft, she was asked. "I'm not aware of
any at the moment."
"None?" I asked.
"Not that I'm aware of," she reiterated.
Tamang was a bit more philosophical, acknowledging that even Samson
"eventually weakened to Delilah's entices." But, he said, "Hopefully they wouldn't [be crazy enough to switch], especially with the availability of strong Linux platforms, such as Caldera's OpenLinux."
Finally, I asked, "why do you think Microsoft gave up the idea of
distributing The Guide?" To which our anonymous Linux rep responded, "I
don't know. Maybe it's costing them too much in marketing budget to send them
out to customers."
"You mean in terms of return on investment," I suggested.
"I just don't know," she demurred.
So what is this marvelous, mysterious Linux Migration Guide? There is
one such document on Microsoft.com.
It is described as providing you "with in-depth technical
knowledge and step-by-step instructions on how to migrate your
customers' Linux e-commerce sites to Microsoft Web Solutions platform." Whether
this is the same document (or more accurately, collection of
multi-media presentations) the company had planned to distribute at the expo is
unknown. It's possible the CD version of The Guide is what was
supposed to be distributed.
The online guide uses a "video interactive format, [to enable users to]
watch the latest information and learn how to:
- Migrate content from Linux to Microsoft Windows 2000 IIS 5.0
- Port scripts from Linux to Windows 2000
- Manage Windows 2000 Web Services with the Web Administration
The site includes white papers about:
- Migration of a Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP platform to Windows 2000
- MySQL migration to Microsoft SQL Server 2000
- Linux to Windows 2000 scripting portability
- Taking Advantage of Windows 2000 -- using Windows component
Users are also invited to "read successful Linux Migration case studies
and learn how a large number of customers requiring [more than] 99.9x per cent
reliability moved from Linux to Windows 2000."
Microsoft says those who will benefit from the Linux Migration Guide
are its "partners who are switching Linux customers to Windows 2000-based
Web sites." It doesn't, however, tell how those customers will
benefit from the switch.