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Rant Mode Equals One — Linux Today: “Microsoft can’t compete”

By Paul Ferris

Windows is not a serious threat to Linux and is unlikely to
ever be a true competitor, according to Linux advocate Paul
Ferris.

In a wide-ranging interview with Linux Today, Mr Ferris said
that the proprietary nature of the software and the fact that
Microsoft is so anti-competitive has prevented a lot of companies
from making long-term investments necessary for the operating
system to become a serious rival to Linux.

“The myths of Windows just don’t add up,” he said. “It’s not
free, although people think it is because hardware vendors bundle
PCs with it pre-installed under anti-competitive contracts. It
costs the average PC tax-payer and corporate user hundreds of
dollars that they can save with Linux. Add to this fact the cost of
constant upgrades, incessant system crashes, poor network
management tools and shoddy software quality — you have a product
that doesn’t hold a candle to truly open solutions, such as
LINUX.”

“Even one of Microsoft’s own lawyers recently presented as part
of their defense in a federal court the fact that Linux is a
serious threat to Windows. They also stated that the market has
become so competitive that they face some serious challenges. I
would wager that it’s much worse than they are letting on, and that
if the truth were more widely known, their stock price would be
falling at a much higher rate of speed than it is now.”

Mr Ferris also disputed the validity of Microsoft’s business
strategy, saying that the company’s view of the world relied upon
people constantly buying new expensive and cumbersome computers
that were becoming increasingly more pointless as hand-held and
embedded Linux solutions took over the majority of the computing
landscape.

“The reality is that the Personal Computer as we know has become
too glued-down — network-centric ideas, such as wire-less hand
held devices, phones, and even kitchen appliances have slimmed-down
footprints. These new devices don’t rely upon bloated legacy
software and applications, such as Microsoft Office. They just need
to access standards-compliant network applications — email and Web
browsing, for example.”

“The world has opened up to the endless possibilities of the
Internet, and Microsoft hasn’t realized that they are no longer
needed as an operating systems provider. Heck, you can get
literally dozens of free operating systems, and even some office
suites right off of the Internet, free of charge and freely
shareable — why anyone would pay hundreds of dollars for
technology like that is beyond me.”

“GNU/Linux is based upon proven technology that has been
developed over the course of better than 30 years by some of the
finest computing minds on the planet. Since its creation in 1991 it
has always been a free operating system,” he went on to say. That’s
free, as in zero procurement costs, and free as in free speech, Mr
Ferris said, “And the communities that surround the products such
as Linux have always focused on helping people do great things with
their lives. That hasn’t changed and never will change.”

“Thanks to these new computing paradigms and a growing awareness
by the populations of the internet connected masses — the world is
now changing in a positive direction. People, not large greedy
corporations, are gaining more control of the technology that
empowers their lives.”

Mr Ferris went on to explain that Linux had the highest share of
systems that provided web pages to people surfing the Internet, and
that Apache, the free Open Source web server, had a over 3 to 1
margin over its closest competitor — Microsoft IIS. “IIS is dead.
Its market share has been dropping and I’ve even seen it drop 1 or
2 points in a month. Why some people continue to use
legacy Windows systems to do important, mission critical things
like file and web serving is beyond me, especially considering the
fact that Open Source alternatives are more stable and not bound by
expensive contracts.”

Mr Ferris also went on to point out that the communities
surrounding Linux and other open source projects have no revenue
streams or corporate shareholders to be accountable to, so the end
results are products that have no planned obsolescence, better
adherence to protocols and that customers can count on to be there
in the long run.

“Microsoft’s chairman Bill Gates has stated in public that

Microsoft’s main competitor is its own installed base of
customers
— I don’t know about you, but the idea of buying
from someone who considers me an ‘enemy’ — it just goes against my
grain.”

Mr Ferris said he remained confident that the marketplace would
be competitive for years to come. He also said that Linux would
surprise even the most clueless of market analysts and journalists
by gaining a sizeable desktop share in the next couple of
years.

Mr Ferris is in Louisville, Ohio, and serves as the Director of
Technology for the Linux and Open Source channel at internet.com.
His mailbox is always open; he can be reached via email at [email protected].