August 30, 2003

SCO/Microsoft's attack on Linux is backfiring

- by Rick Smith -

If you keep up with technology news at all, you know all about SCO's fight with IBM, and now, with the Open Source community that developed Linux. But what you may not see is the forest through the trees. There are some fundemental things going on in this turf war that the big boys are missing, and if you look at the headlines over the past 6 months, or even the past year, you'll see them loud and clear.

Microsoft has been in the news just as much as the SCO/IBM/Linux battle, and Microsoft has indeed funded SCO to prolong its IBM/Linux fight. But if you step back for a moment, you'll notice that the content of all the Microsoft headlines is due to their software being pathetically poor (according to the press). News about Microsoft security patches here, there and everywhere. Worms, viruses, more worms. News about how even in the face of 4 new operating systems in the past 3 years , Microsoft is unable to fix bugs that date back to the very first release of Windows 95. How out of control do you have to be for that to happen?

How bad is it really for Microsoft? Let's face it, my own father, who uses his computer like a toaster, got hit with the last worm. He's a smart consumer, he doesn't stick forks in the toaster when it's plugged in, and he doesn't download software off the web or open emails he doesn't recognize -- but he got infected anyway. He told me, "The computer said it was going to shut itself down, but I thought that was normal for Windows anyways!" And he didn't say it in that happy-go-lucky tone the actors in the Microsoft commercials take!

My father is part of the new wave of people being affected by Microsoft's OS problems -- the average consumer. In the past, if you minded your P's and Q's, you would live with the daily Windows annoyances, and only *read* about the major problems others had with Microsofts OSs. That era is over. Now the average Joe is being hit in the face. Microsoft is out of touch, with a major problem on its hands -- its OS. It's gotten so bad for Microsoft that it seems they've given up on the rhetoric, propaganda, and vaporware-type press releases they relied on so heavily in the past to woo their worried customers.

On the other hand, what's going on with the Linux press? SCO (don't forget - funded by Microsoft) and IBM are fighting tooth and nail OVER Linux software. That's right, SCO is fighting to claim an operating system! I will say it again - they are fighting OVER Linux as in: Something is so GOOD you are willing to fight *for* it! So in the big picture you have mountains of press about how bad Microsoft is, and mountains of press about how good Linux is, and how the biggest companies of the modern era are fighting tooth and nail to possess it.

Do you think the world population won't be affected by this kind of press in this way? You can guess Microsoft's answer to this question, and they are dead wrong. The general public hears these sound bytes every day and it distills down to this: Microsoft -- unsecure, dangerous software; Linux -- some copyright fight going on, must be damn good software for these big companies to be battling over it. Microsoft's strategy here is the best thing that has ever happened to Linux.

All the Linux community needs to do now is to standardize an idiot-proof, non-technical method of installing/uninstalling all Linux apps and Linux will sweep the desktop. The Linux community should send a bottle of champagne to Bill Gates thanking him for his assistance in promoting Linux as the best operating system on the planet in the eyes of the press, and therefore in the eyes of the general public.

The opinions presented in this article are the author's, and may or may not be shared by OSDN editors or management.

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