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Linux, Windows Seek Strength in Competition

Feb 12, 2009, 12:01 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Rubens)

"But don't take my word for it. Linus Torvalds himself, talking to DistroWatch Weekly at Linux.conf.au last month, brought up this point. "I think multiple distributions aren't just a good thing, I think it's something absolutely required. We have hundreds of distros, and a lot of them are really for niche markets. And you need that -- simply because different markets simply have different requirements, and no single distro will take care of them all," he said. Sure, Torvalds was talking principally about desktop distros, but his comments apply equally to servers versions as well. "In addition, having multiple players just keeps everybody honest and allows you to compare them. It may all look a bit messy and complex, but I'd much rather have a multi-party system over a single-party one. Even if it's more complicated."

"Let's contrast that with the Windows OS market. It looks like a monopoly. On the desktop side there's Windows Vista, offered by a single producer, Microsoft. Of course, Vista is offered in a number of different variants (e.g., Business, Ultimate and Enterprise). You can argue that by offering variants, Microsoft is not forcing customers to buy features they don't need, but you can equally argue that the company is forcing customers to pay whatever it asks for the features they do need. Either way, the variants are just that -- variants of the same single product, not different products in and of themselves."

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