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Guardian on Microsoft Linux conference

From: Dave
Subject: Guardian on Microsoft Linux conference
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2004 22:37:19 +0100
User-agent: Sqworm/2.9.85-BETA (beta_release; 20011115-775; i686-pc-linux

Dirty war for hearts and minds
Jack Schofield
Thursday June 17, 2004
The Guardian

"This morning in Edinburgh, Microsoft is holding what it bills as "an
open and honest technology seminar" on the merits of Windows and Linux."

"Assuming you have missed that, there are two more events in Manchester
(June 29) and Newport (July 7). This is not necessarily a recommendation."

"I went to the first event, held in London last Thursday, and it lived
down to my expectations. Well, I did not really expect an open
technology discussion, and I did not get one. There were no
representatives from the open source movement on stage and, while there
was a question time, there was nothing you could honestly call a debate."

Why were no representatives of the 'Free Software Foundation' or the
'Open Source Development Labs' present. I'm sure they would be more than
happy to participate. Did anyone ask Richard Stallman for instance ?

"When I chatted with Nick McGrath, head of platform strategy at
Microsoft UK, he was at pains to point out that none of the speakers had
been told what to say. That represents a huge step for a lot of
marketing departments, not just Microsoft's."

"However, since most of the speakers were either Microsoft staff,
Microsoft partners or Microsoft customers, it was a pretty safe bet that
none of them was going to sing out for open source."

er ... Yes :)

"No doubt the speakers were sincere about what they were doing with IT.
However, a debate would have required some equally sincere people who,
for whatever reasons, had made different choices. They weren't on stage,
though there were a few in the audience."

"The main exception to the rule was the first speaker, Philip Dawson,
who leads Linux research at the Meta Group consultancy. He provided a
comprehensive, independent overview of the current state of the market
from an enterprise point of view, and where he thought it was heading. I
don't think he said anything that would have surprised anyone who had
heard similar presentations from rival consultancies, but he provided a
good platform for the debate that didn't follow."

Hardly that independent. Meta Group *has* been known to produce reports
sponsored by Microsoft.  I would have much preferred to have heard from
a *real* IT professional. And not some glorified marketeer. Or some
'research' funded by Microsoft that shows - coincidentally - that
Windows has lower TCO that Linux.

Philip Dawson can hardly be called a disinterested observer. See him
here promoting the same fud that you do at the bottom of this article.
Namely Open Source is just good enough for that cheepo Web Site and
nothing else. In a long article he has this to say about Linux:

"All new Microsoft Webserver deployments should be on W2K  ..  Linux and
Solaris are the main competitors for Microsoft at this tier level (all
three are viable)." - Philip Dawson Dec 01 2000

All he does at the conference is repeat more of the party line. Linux is
more expensive initially because of training and later on support costs
more. Presumably because Linux is more difficult to use than Windows.
Neither of these opinions stand up to scrutiny in the real world. Just
ask any real Linux IT admin.

See here Mr Dawson asserting that the TCO of W2K will come *down* to
that of Unix!

"As the whole W2K suite of products matures, the total cost of ownership
(TCO) will be more in line with those of Unix", Philip Dawson, Dec 2000

It's interesting to see how many other of his predictions have actually
come to pass. I assume we can give his current utterances the same value.

"As for the stated intention of refuting Linux myths, the event did not
do that well. For example, McGrath was pleased that nobody in the
audience felt that Linux was "free" - without charge - in a corporate
setting, but ignored the point that it was "free" in the sense that you
could rewrite and redistribute the code. As the founder of the Free
Software Foundation, Richard Stallman, has been saying for two decades:
"Think free speech, not free beer.""

That is not the whole story. Why didn't they spend time refuting those
other 'myths' ? What other myths would that be ?

"You can understand why Microsoft wants to debunk Linux, but why bother?
The IT industry is full of cranks doing "advocacy", and fanaticism is
always a bad idea: common sense, courtesy and common human decency fly
out the door. So do potential customers."

You're just fudding here. You've just called Linux advocates fanatics
and then retracted it by having the  'why bother' bit at the front.
Translation: Why bother debunking Linux when Open Source is full of cranks.

"The reason so many companies use Linux to host websites has nothing to
do with "advocacy" and everything to do with the fact that there's a
pretty standard software stack (including the Apache web server) that
does the job well on cheap Intel hardware."

Payload delivered: Linux only good enough for that cheap web server. Old
fud Jack. You need never have bothered going to the conference. Why no
mention of Linux running supercomputers or in the data center or on the
desktop or in embedded devices ?

As for 'cranks' and ' fanaticism'. The Microsoft corporation have
expended major effort and money in trying to eliminate Open Source.
Their paid shills in the press have called it un American and equated
its proponents to terrorists. Then uses the understandably over emotive
response as proof of same.  Steve Ballmer is even quoted as referring to
Open Source as a cancer. Now who is the crank.

"In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Microsoft CEO Steve
Ballmer said that "LINUX IS A CANCER that attaches itself in an
intellectual-property sense to everything it touches."
Microsoft Embraces Linux! (Sort Of)
James Maguire  --  April 28 2003

As a side issue here's Phil comparing TCO between W2K and Unix.

"As the whole W2K suite of products matures, the total cost of ownership
(TCO) will be more in line with those of Unix", Philip Dawson, Dec 2000
- unquote -

Wait a minute what about all those recent studies that showed that
Windows had actually *lower* TCO than Linux. And Linux *is* a Unix like
system. So how can this be. Someone is not telling the truth. Or is in
other words just markeFUDteering :)

Here's some examples of Open Source running on systems other than that
cheep Intel web server :)

on Cray supercomputers

in the Data Center

on the Desk Top

in embedded devices

Some alternative information on Open Source:

Free Software Foundation

Open Source Development Labs

Open Source compared to terrorists:

".. I have a hard time seeing the Zealots as any different from
terrorists .." Rob Enderle, Oct 2003
President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group.

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