I see all kinds of comments on my blog reflecting mythology rather than reality. Salesmen love mythology. It’s so easy to modify without doing any work at all. One plants a believable fact in the mind of someone and a believable mythology can spread like wildfire. We know from legal documents that M$ actually trained its people in how to manage mythology and seduce third parties to work on M$’s behalf selling the mythology of M$’s products to the world. It worked spectacularly well and overcame all kinds of rational tendencies in IT: price/performance and choice, in particular.
Without numerous viable choices in IT there is no reality at all to “choosing M$”. M$ did exclusive deals with IBM and major ISPs and OEMs to exclude competitors from the market virtually eliminating choice. M$ then leveraged that lack of choice into “superiority” of M$’s technology, the fundamental myth, widely held.
Reality is quite different. This week people celebrated Bill Gates’ decision to focus on security a decade ago after spreading insecure crap all over IT for more than a decade at that point. Even after that “milestone”, Vista propagated some vulnerabilities that Bill Gates had introduced in Lose 3.1 and waves of malware spread through the world of IT shutting down whole organizations some times. I worked at one organization that actually pulled the plug on the Internet to protect itself from malware for a period of time when one of the worms was making its rounds. The mythology does not survive the test of reality.
|No one was ever fired for buying M$||London Stock Exchange scrapped that other OS for huge outages and lack of performance||They got better performance for a lower price buying a company producing exchange systems and got into the business of selling exchange systems, essentially making the cost of migration $0.|
|You cannot escape M$ because of some critical application(s)||Many seats can and have often been migrated because one does not need the same set of applications on every seat||Requiring everyone to drive a Cadillac when a Toyota would do has cost $billions annually of wasted expenditure in IT. There can be economies of scale and efficiency having only one set of client machines but no one actually needs to do it that way and often it is not possible to do it that way so why try to do that with the OS?|
|Thin clients expose users to a single point of failure.||At the time M$ wanted to suppress thin clients from undermining their monopoly, M$’s OS was the largest single point of failure on the planet and quite unsuited to run thin clients.||GNU/Linux and other UNIX OS have been giving reliable performance using thin clients or not, making possible huge savings in capital cost and maintenance where the technology is really suitable (not video, usually).|
|M$ costs less||The prices of licences and CALs give Free Software a huge headstart which proponents try to overcome with other myths like ease of management.||Having managed many kinds of systems from one-of-a-kind, to GNU/Linux to inActive Directoried XP, I can state with no hesitation that I have never seen any efficiency in using that other OS to do anything. M$ is now warning users to be prepared to encounter GUI-less servers as if it were some novel thing.|
|Migrations to GNU/Linux are expensive failures||Most migrations are easier than expected and cost less.||Having migrated many kinds of systems I know that a few problems will arise but they are easily soluble one at a time. The easiest migrations are into green fields with no lock-in but most organizations succeed and rapidly recover their investment by starting with the easy cases, almost-green fields. For green-fields the return on investment is immediate because the hardware had to be bought anyway and the licensing fees are an immediate reduction in capital cost. Important applications can always be broken down into essential features and those replaced one at a time. Moving to web applications is the neatest way to get GNU/Linux to do anything that other OS can do.|
The ultimate proof of the above is that where M$ has little standing, the myths are not evident at all: the mobile space. No one is saying smart thingies don’t work because hundreds of millions are out there, working, in the hands of ordinary people. Mobility was a green field for Android/Linux. Few are saying thin clients don’t work either as everyone depends on the web these days and even M$ has decided to extract “value” (money) by taxing thin clients with its OS and CALs.
M$’s myths still abound on the desktop and on the server but the reality is still there. Anything that other OS can do can be done faster, cheaper and more openly with GNU/Linux and FLOSS. We don’t need to accept, propagate or even tolerate the myths any longer. They are not reality.
I recommend Debian GNU/Linux for all IT. It is distributed by a core of dedicated developers following best practices for packaging software that works reliably and is well tested. GNU/Linux is a cooperative product of the world and it works for you with no myths required.
I no sooner had finished this when I saw articles about Apple’s pet myths:
- They stole our intellectual property…
- Our stuff works really well…
- Our stuff is for beautiful people…
Clearly, Apple’s salesmen encourage the myths but reality creeps in. Both Apple and M$ will have to compete on price/performance. In reality, they have no special advantage in technology and buyers should make choice real.