With Mr. Mundie's speech last week, many in the Linux community
took the opportunity to let out a collective, barbaric "Yawp!" and
commence gleeful bashing. While it may have relieved a lot of
stress, it didn't do anything to promote Linux and may well have
been the best response Redmond could have hoped for. In this week's
column, Brian Proffitt argues that while a horselaugh may well be
worth a thousand syllogisms, the arrogance it connotes is PR gold
"By coming out last week and declaring open season on
open source, Microsoft has unleashed an onslaught of invective from
the Linux community more scorching than the time my uncle caught me
looking at his Playboys when I was eight (my ears are still burning
from that one). But this may be the wrong approach for us to take.
A lot of people wrote me an asked me what I thought of the whole
affair and frankly I am still shaking my literary head at the
nonsense. And I am not alone. My colleagues in the so called
"mainstream" press (read: Microsoft-friendly) are also wondering
what the heck is going on. Why would Microsoft aim itself at the
open source and free software concepts, rather than the Linux
operating system itself, they ask rhetorically.
They know the answer, of course: Linux is unlike any challenger
Microsoft has ever seen. No one really owns Linux, a fact that
scares the bejeezus out of the execs in Redmond. There is no one
thing to emulate, nothing really in the Linux technology they want
to "embrace and extend." Nothing except the overriding philosophies
themselves: the GPL and the Open Source concepts.
And so that's where we found ourselves last Thursday, laughing
like hyenas at Microsoft's shared source concept. In talkback after
talkback, we (myself included) poked fun at the mighty software
giant trying to clothe itself in the very best free and open source
software has to offer-all the while stressing that while code would
be shared, everyone had to remember that the code always belongs to
After I sobered up from the hijinks, I realized that Linux
itself could be in for an interesting fight with Microsoft, despite
Microsoft's apparent blundering into this arena. I say apparent
because I don't think Microsoft is making mistakes here."
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