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DesktopLinux.com: Waiting for Linux, Waiting for Godot

Nov 30, 2001, 14:27 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Malcolm Dean)

[ Thanks to Nobody for this link. ]

"...Because Linux is not necessarily a boxed product, newcomers have a hard time understanding exactly what they are faced with. You can sense the impact of this new reality in the language Microsoft now uses to describe its products. Windows XP is called "the latest Operating System," "based on the NT kernel." Even the New York Times, a publication which should know better, parrotted the phrase. Before Linux, new releases were simply "versions," and there was no mention of NT's kernel. It's a clever ploy to condition consumers to see Linux as less than the latest, and the NT kernel as an object of desire.

Although Microsoft appears to be hard at work convincing customers that the future belongs to boxed products (theirs), much of Bill Gates' activities over the past few years shows that he realizes that the future will look very different, and almost certainly does not belong to Operating Systems. G2 Computer Intelligence, Inc. provides an interesting summary of over 170 Microsoft acquisitions and investments approaching $20 billion by 2000, showing that Redmond is reaching in all directions to ensure it doesn't miss the next boat.

Then there's .NET. Remember the auto ad which said something like "lead, follow, or get out of the way?" Seeing a brave new world in which all kinds of devices and operating environments communicate routinely, Microsoft had little choice but to attempt to establish a leading environment which would place it at the center of the next stage in computing. But while Microsoft is providing "boxed" .NET products such as Visual Studio for its development community, it cannot escape the fact that the most important parts of .NET are open standards, not proprietary products. Worse, several projects are underway to implement Open Source versions of .NET, which will make it possible to remove Microsoft from the equation entirely."

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