Tux the magic Linux penguin appears set to bite far larger
pieces of human anatomy than Linus Torvald's finger. Like Bill
Gates' increasingly exposed rear end.
Linux legend, Torvalds, came up with the penguin moniker for the
OS he sired after being bitten by one of the birds during a visit
to Canberra zoo.
Since then, the chilly birds have been migrating north, south,
east and west. Linux, in less than a decade, has moved from being
an underground plaything for hard core geeks, to respectable
Internet server O S, to dark horse NT competitor, to desktop
operating system contender.
In a frenzy, which demonstrates the software industry's hatred
of Microsoft as much as it represents a love of Linux, software
vendor after software vendor has rolled out or pledged Linux ports.
Oracle, CA, Corel, Lotus, Adobe, Novell are all madly porting away
while brand name hardware vendors like IBM, Dell and Compaq will
ship Linux boxes.
This activity has not gone unnoticed in the Redmond bunker. Late
last month, while droning on about his new book and giving
Microsoft's latest buzz marketing term "The Digital Nervous System"
its weekly hamm ering, Gates took time out to slip the shiv to
"There has certainly been a lot of free software out there for
the last 20 years," Gates said. "The main thing that has held that
back is that it's free software, there's no central point of
control. So wha t you see with Linux, and other things, is you get
a proliferations of different versions and everybody can go into
the source code, and everybody does.
"But what creates confusion regarding which applications work
with which versions," he said, "because there is no central testing
A pretty poor FUD from Gates, especially from someone sitting in
an antitrust court charged with abusing his "central point of
control." And Gates' statement contradicts Microsoft internal memos
conceding th e open source meritocracy writes robust source
But Gates was only getting warmed up. Next came a spruik on the
wonders of Windows system management software, a stab at Linux's
supposed lack of a GUI and shot at driver support.
"We put things into our system like systems management that's
not that much fun for university developers," said Gates. "Linux
doesn't have that stuff. It doesn't have the graphics interface. It
doesn't ha ve the rich set of device drivers
"So certainly we think of it as a competitor in the student and
hobbyist market. But I really don't think in the commercial market,
we'll see it in any significant way."
"Gates should spend a weekend educating himself with a Linux
install or two. To his shock and horror he would find numerous
window managers and graphical interfaces, such as Gnome, which make
Windows look du ll, boring and featureless. He would also find any
number of system management tools, but he does score a point on the
drivers - it often takes months for the Linux community to code
drivers for fresh hardware, especially when manufacturers won't
disclose their firmware details to open source zealots.
But after all it was a start in Microsoft's anti-Linux campaign.
I expect much more penguin baiting from Bill and the troops in the
months to come.
Reprinted with permission from Computer Reseller News
(Australia). Here is the original
article. (75K size) -lt ed
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