Gary Newell has a thoughtful article on the relationship between the GNU/Linux desktop and that other OS.“Why does it have to be one thing or another?. For Windows to survive must Linux die and for Linux to succeed does Windows have to die? Of course not. The people who want to use Linux will and those who don’t won’t.” His facts are true but he comes to the wrong conclusion by omitting one important fact, M$ is out to get us.
Let’s not forget history:
- 1997 – When faced with the “horror” of sub $1K PCs M$ wrote, “current PC technology is totally sufﬁcient for most office tasks and consumer desires and that any performance bottleneck is not in today’s PCs but in today’s COM pipes. This in itself might slow down replacement cycles and life time shortening until we ﬁnd true MIPS eating applications- a priority not only INTEL should subscribe to.” Ever since, M$ has continually taken actions to slow PCs down through use so consumers and businesses will continue to buy new machines with new licences. We don’t need that.
- 1997 – Paul Maritz wrote, “The real issue deals with not losing control of the APIs on the client and not losing control of the end-user experience. For Netscape this is synonymous with winning the browser battle. That is because they don’t have Windows. We have an asset which has APIs and control the end-user experience: Windows.” In the browser war, M$ deliberately used tying to that other OS as a tool to damage a competitor. IT is supposed to be about the most efficient way of creating, finding, modifying and distributing information, not killing competition and leading users around by the nose. We don’t need that.
- 1995 – S. McGeady wrote, “On August 2. 1995. in a meeting of Intel and Microsoft executives, Bill Gates told Intel CEO Andy Grove to shut down the Intel Architecture Labs. Gates didn’t want IAL’s 750 engineers interfering with his plans for domination of the PC industry. Gates made vague threats about support for other platforms. and on the same day he announced a major program to support Digital Equipment’s Alpha microprocessor, an Intel competitor. Gates was livid about IAL’s investments in the Internet and wanted them stopped. All of this was said in the presence of executives from both companies.” M$ set out to stifle all innovation related to basic utilities in IT by fair means or foul. We don’t need that.
- 2004 – The European Commission finds M$ disrupted interoperability in IT. We don’t need that.
So, treating M$ as just another supplier in the IT-playground is a major omission in the argument. M$ is out to get us and is not a neutral business. Therefor we should prefer every other option before them including GNU/Linux on our desktop/notebook PCs simply because GNU/Linux is not out to get us and the authours are entirely motivated to provide good software at the lowest price and fewest burdens. That, to me, overrules all of Newell’s arguments which assume M$ is benign.
M$ has deliberately violated the laws of competition in USA and elsewhere repeatedly, systematically and with malice. They are out to get us. At first they got an exclusive deal with IBM to get their foot in the door, piggybacking on IBM’s branding with business, then they demanded exclusive deals with ISVs and manufacturers, then they punished any manufacturer who stepped out of line and installed competing products, then they created an endless chain of incompatible file-format changes and created whole industries based on the existence of overly complex secret protocols and finally forced the world to accept a closed standard as an open standard… That whole burden has served to render IT more expensive to own and to operate and much more fragile than it should be just on technical merits.
Allowing that other OS to live side by side with GNU/Linux is neither essential nor desirable. The cancer that is M$ needs to be cut out of IT for good. There may be some who prefer the devil they know but the new folks and the folks who come to the light of FLOSS don’t need to leave any oxygen for M$ lest the cancer grows again.