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back to article Microsoft under threat from Linux - it's official

Microsoft has warned investors about new threats to its precious client-side tech ecosystem, by listing Linux vendors Canonical and Red Hat as rivals in its annual Form 10-K filing. The software giant also acknowledged Apple’s impressive market share grab in the US, where it now commands fourth place for total shipments. “[The …

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Are we entering a brave new world?

One where Microsoft has to compete properly and fairly?

Strikes me that Microsoft is beginning to lose its strangle hold on the IT market. People are turning to Apple because Vista was a pig and because they wanted change. Linux is always going to gather pace as its in its own hermetically sealed vacuum.

And the EU firmly has its foot on Microsoft's head. All of a sudden the exclusive contracts, the bundling of MS components is falling apart.

At this rate, Microsoft are going to have to compete on a level playing field where product superiority has to win.

The question remains though, how much payback will there be to MS as the market changes? I'm sure there are more than a few axes being ground right now.

So it makes you wonder quite what they are up to with Windows 7 pricing. Yes Microsoft, in this brave new world, we want to pay MORE for average software. They simply haven't got a clue now its going pear shaped.

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Gates Horns

So Which Is It?

That's funny, Ballmer was only the other day claiming how Apple's market share increase was just a "rounding error." Now they have "made inroads?" He needs to get his facts straight, the only ROUNDing error is his stomach.

But then the guy started out in HR, how much IT credibility can he have anyway?

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Linux

Haha!

</Nelson>

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FAIL

End of the Line

The data for this report has been ready for months. Knowing that, one wonders why Microsoft hasn't already shed their low-down and self destructive ways. They can't because of who they are and they are Microsoft. They're just too big and too slow to react ... not to mention their inability to produce genuinely innovative products. Do they really believe Windows 7 (version 6.1; Vista is version 6 too) is actually anything more than the latest service pack for Vista? Yes, they do and they will keep believing it until they actually reach the General Motors stage in their corporate life. And it's still doubtful GM has really learned their lesson.

Microsoft is a dinosaur heading down the path of self-ruin; the global economy doesn't need that to happen. But the sad fact is Microsoft is run by a corporate individuals who still work in the economics of the '60s. They hire people who can help and then relegate them to the basement doing meaningless tasks and then claim they are moving forward.

The Emperor has no clothes and Microsoft is doomed to utter failure. I'm guessing within the next five years.

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Linux

Reality to Redmond

Well hello there ... this is your wake up call.

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Silver badge

Again, GooChrOS isn't an OS, it's a GUI ...

"Google’s Chrome OS remained notably absent from the list. The big question is it will the upcoming Mountain View platform be included a year from now?"

It's already covered by the MS document. "GooChrOS" isn't an OS, it's nothing more than yet another GUI running on Linux ... and Gawd/ess knows that Linux needs more GUIs ...

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Headmaster

honourable mention

"Google’s Chrome OS remained notably absent from the list."

They mention Linux, that covers pretty much everything out there including 'Chrome OS' (or "chrome for linux with not much else" as I prefer to call it).

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Joke

@Bilgepipe

Well, maybe.

Or is the rounding error in his exposed cranium ?? ;^P

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@Justin Clements

> Linux is always going to gather pace as its in its own *hermetically sealed* vacuum

Er, nice words at the end, but exactly which part of "open" do you not understand?

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Re: hermetically sealed vacuum

Open source described as a hermetically sealed vacuum? Now I've heard everything.

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Gates Halo

Epic Win, Linux "community"

that Microsoft includes Canonical as an example of 'strong competition from well-established companies' since they've only been around since 2004. See who they think the enemy is.

Just goes to show how badly Microsoft are losing their way, and how an all singing and dancing Linux distro can catch waverers.

So I reckon this is NOT the time to let Microsoft apply its' 3Es approach to Linux or FOSS.

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Gates Halo

Smokescreen

Ummmm, as neither Apple nor Linux or any other OS is going to make anything like a major dent in Microsoft's client OS business for at least a decade (or 2), I'm going to assume this is smokescreen for the next EU Competition Commission talks. After all, if they're losing market share, they're in a competitive market....

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@Are we entering a brave new world?

No, every public company fills in this form, it's just legal botty-covering.

Without it anyone who buys a share of MSFT stock can sue them if they had known about anything which might affect their business and hadn't disclosed it.

The more 'threats' you put in the filling the more covered you are.

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Anonymous Coward

Linux a threat?

On the server, maybe. With the move to virtualisation having to run a GUI on the host is a waste.

Consumer electronics (PVRs etc), certainly. Windows simply demands too much

Mobile, no. Other OSs have the mobile market sewn up already.

Client, not for at least a decade. Linux is still too geeky, too hostile to the end user, suffers too many limitations (modern hardware support, media playback, printers, mice etc) and demands too much knowledge (wanna set up a firewall? You'd better know the protocols backwards) for the average Joe.

Apple is no real threat here either - far too expensive.

MS has no immediate external threats in the client market, not for another 5-10 years anyway. The biggest threat is actually MS itself and that this "Linus danger!" is just PR puff to hide that fact. XP does everything people want - there is no compelling reason to move from XP to Vista or Win7. None.

That is the threat - not Apple or Linux.

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Unhappy

This will be bad

If we have Linux on the desktop instead of the Windows we are say good bye to the PC everywhere as a tool of common man. Imagine all the men and dog try to use command line to make latest driver work like with WinModem.

It will be death of computer for ordinary person.

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Jobs Horns

For all the shit that MS has done...

You have to admit that they are producing just about the only viable OS for PCs. I would love to recommend Linux to people, but as long as it has bugs like crashing old routers that don't support IPv6 then I can't really expect anyone other than IT geeks like myself to use it.

As for Apple, they are worse than Microsoft. They have arguably a better OS but they use it to sell laptop components in fancy cases and always, always charge you more than they need to for the privilege. Lets not forget that iTunes will only synch with iPods, Apps for the iPhone are only available through Apple's store, Mobile Me charges $100 a year for services that can be found free elsewhere while remaining a poorer service than the competitors.

Apple users are 5% of computer users and act like they are the cream of the crop and should rule the rest of us. Apple don't program that into the OS, but it does seem to come as part of the Apple experience.

Doug Glass maybe you should use Windows 7 before you spout the usual hater guff about it being a Service Pack. And if you have used it then I can tell you had made up your mind before you even clicked the Start orb.

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Badgers

Owww! I've shot myself in the foot (again)

No not true, Microsoft under threat from Microsoft's botched software

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Re: The Linux OS (sic) is crap

>> to make latest driver work like with WinModem.

Where do these people come up with such stuff?

1) Linux isn't an operating system, it's a kernel. OTOH Ubuntu, Fedora and Gentoo are all operating systems.

2) All work in the FOSS world is done based on demand, if you don't have winmodem support, or a working mouse (that made me laugh) then perhaps it's because there isn't the demand, or the people who demand the work fail to pay for it to be done.

3) What exists is Free, what is yet to exist costs to make. Make a note and learn it for next time. If you want something done, make sure you have your chequebook out.

Microsoft, not a company worth doing business with.

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Threats to the PC

Seems to me the real long term threat to Microsoft is the possible disappearance of the PC as a platform, to be replaced by closed platforms (thin clients, kindles, game consoles, etc). Why do you think they spent so much money on XBox?

As far as OS platforms, the NT kernel is still technologcially more sophisticated than Linux or Apple's UNIX based OS. We will see if Windows 7 can undo the damage done by Vista, although I think most consumers were not really that annoyed by Vista. The fall in sales you see now is more related to the economy. Look at netbooks, where Windows eclipsed LInux in less than a year, once it was available to users. People don't really want to buy a Yugo instead of a Ford. Too bad there is not a real advance in OS design, something new and creative, not just a political movement wrapped around an obsolete and ersatz software like UNIX.

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N2
Bronze badge

OMG! Competition

Another expensive advertising campaign will fix it...

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Anonymous Coward

Microsofts main problem is microsoft

As said previously, Microsofts main competitor is Microsoft. I have 4 laptops, two of which still run XP and I will never upgrade them from this. I tried vista on them and it cripled them so it was back to XP for good performance and ease of use.

I also have a new laptop with Windows 7 and I can say that if you use a pc every day(windows pc that is) then its a huge leap forward. its light, nimble, pretty and there a number of small user enhancments (the most visible enhancments) that make it much more useable.

In fact, it feels like my MacBook pro now, you dont think about anything you do on it, you just do it, if you understand my meaning.

So, with win 7 feeling moderately like OSX, i dont think il buy another apple for the time being. Thats apples competition threat gone.

I wont buy linux as its linux ( sorry but thats just who i am).

But i still have two XP Pc's that will always be XP Pc's. MS will have to try very hard to get folks to upgrade from XP to Win7, especially since a lot of folks feel duped by the whole farce that is Vista.

Microsoft have plenty of time, at least 10 years before any other companies become competitors though....

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@Bob Gateaux

Why do you bother posting Bob? Your posts are frankly crap.

"Imagine all the men and dog try to use command line to make latest driver work like with WinModem."

WinModems? Those cheap nasty cut corner devices that no-one uses any more and which were pretty dire under Windows 98.

Have you ever used Linux at all?

Are you really a person or some sort of sock puppet? And what's with the Aleksandr Orlov style of writing.

I do wonder if the Moderatorix lets his comments go through just to stir things up a bit.

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Linux

@Don Mitchell

"As far as OS platforms, the NT kernel is still technologcially more sophisticated than Linux or Apple's UNIX based OS."

Yeah? Care back that up with anything? I see *nix is still the number one choice for people who care about flops. I'm sure that's because they're all just windows n00bz and not because windows, technologically speaking, is bunch of pump that runs on ... how many architectures?

http://www.top500.org/stats/list/33/os

"Too bad there is not a real advance in OS design,"

So why support the company that tries to kill all competition?

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Linux

RE: Linux a threat?

What are you on? Have you wondered why Windows isn't used on any device other want PCs and the odd PDA or mobile phone? Its not just the hardware/system requirements, its also development support and existing support - I mean imagine you wanted to make a router, you would only really need hardware drivers, all the tools are already available and lot of the developers are available.

The answer is, Linux has lot of support - it's free, it's documented, specialist hardware manufactures love it.. OK I admit that there aren't always alot of drivers for razors edge hardware but there are normally available if you do alot of research.

I admit it's geeky but if you look at it - there are alot of reasons for using it.

Did you know for example a lot of the worlds stock exchanges runs on Linux and Unix platforms? Do you ever wonder why? I mean when was the last time you heard of a computer failure with a stock exchange? If you look at a lot of stock exchange computers a lot of these runs what amounts to "screen" session.

If you look at Windows, it's a terrorable system on some many levels and it really makes you wonder why people use it. I mean I know it's popular but I don't get it - a lot none technical people don't get Windows and these tend to be people whom can use Linux - I've personally helped people switch due to my lack of wanting to support their Windows systems.

PS please feed the troll... this troll is hungry (I've yet to eat!).

I personally think Microsoft will implode within 5 to 10 years as all of the competition will step up a gear and I believe we will see Microsoft try and spend their way out of trouble (like they have been trying to do with Google). I think they are point these problems out to try to get shareholder support and so they can excuse their current growing issues.

Also you have third world countries which are slowly adopting Linux (I know a couple of people whom have just returned from working in South Africa and where setting up Linux PCs and servers in South Africa). This will help these countries but will alot tech people to use Linux, if Linux is learnt - why would someone choose Windows especially when you have to pay for it and learn it?

Mike

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FAIL

More Gobsheit from Linux "Spokespeople"

So which is it? A Kernel? An Operating system? What? And why are you making it so convenient by compiling all these drivers with it? Because you can? If you didn't, would your favourite interface still work?

For years we've been hearing about the future of Linux on the Desktop. You mean to tell me that all this time the word Linux is just a place holder for a combination of elements that pass for the equivalent of an OS Turing Test, a seamless user experience? Come on. You can do better than that.

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IT Angle

Not UNIX!

GNU/Linux isn't UNIX. It never claimed to be UNIX. Yet improperly-educated companies like SCO and Microsoft keep saying it's "a variant of UNIX." Sure, a Linux-based OS looks like UNIX, talks like UNIX, and is comfortable hanging around with UNIX, but at the core they don't have very much in common (kernel-wise) other than a fair amount of POSIX compliance...

It would be rather more correct to say that a Linux-based OS is "UNIX-like," as opposed to "a variant of UNIX."

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Alert

@Threats to the PC

"obsolete and ersatz software like UNIX"

Don't make me laugh. If you want real work done (reliably) use a UNIX or Linux box.

I have several really old, relatively slow (by today's standards) HP-UX servers doing easily 10 times the work of brand new Wintel machines, and they do it without constant preening and without being rebooted three times a week.

And the reason OS-X is so stable? That'll be UNIX too!

There's nothing wrong with basing an OS around UNIX. Often it's the graphical environment that needs some design work - a more user focused approach. I often wish M$ would swallow their pride and follow Apple and Google's lead - a Microsoft graphical environment on top of a secure and robust Linux platform would be a winner IMO.

Far from being 'obsolete', UNIX (and OS based on the UNIX model) is resurgent. Windows hasn't lived up to it's promises and people just want reliable systems that work ... and don't need 2GB of RAM and a dual core processor just to run a browser!

</rant>

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Anonymous Coward

The Penny is starting to drop....

So it seems that some of the mindless managers are beginning to realise they are continually paying out good money for the pleasure of getting nowhere on the MS upgrade treadmill... now for the mice in IT this is a good little earner... but for anyone paying the bill this is not a pleasant experience... it is not so much IF but WHEN they have the cojones to jump ship and actually start getting some return on their investment...

Think about the guys with the smirk on their faces still running Win98SE...

Then ask yourself:

What have they missed in the last ten years?

The answer:

Lots of service packs, fixes and the upgrades costs for those wonderful products ME & VISTA...

Then ask yourself: What have they gained?

Amazing performance on new hardware and lots of dosh not spent on upgrades...

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Headmaster

Microsoft not with it still

"The Linux operating system, which is also derived from Unix..."

No. This is factually incorrect. Linux is no more "derived from Unix" than ReactOS is derived from Windows - it just aims for compatibility. The BSDs, on the other hand (of which Mac OSX is one), do in fact share code with Unix proper. Slipups like that don't send a particularly good message to astute investors - call me pedantic, but one would expect a company whose primary business is operating systems to know their stuff.

I also liked the "available without payment" bit - while you could cut them some slack as it is the only relevant part of the GPL to a financial filing, it would arguably seem to imply that Microsoft still doesn't really "get" open source. They still think of it in terms of cost vs no cost, when viral open source code is a rather bigger threat than just being free-as-in-beer.

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@Bob Gateaux

Did Vista come with a 64 bit WinModem driver?

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Re: Martin Owens

> 1) Linux isn't an operating system, it's a kernel. OTOH Ubuntu, Fedora and Gentoo are all operating systems.

Uh, no. The kernel is the Operating System (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kernel_(computing) ) ; it provides everything needed to talk to the hardware or BIOS of a computer system. Ubuntu, Fedora and Gentoo are DISTRIBUTIONS that utilize the OS (kernel) and add (supposedly) pre-tested command parser(s) (shells), system level utilities, applications, and GUI(es) that all require the kernel to accomplish tasks. A simplified version of what you are saying would be KDE = Gnome = OS, which would be a "NO". "Ubuntu" is just a trademark.

Now, Canonical, Ltd. may make modifications to the Linux OS kernel for its own use (precompiled drivers, etc), but the kernel is the lowest level code that communicates to the BIOS and hardware. Likewise, what makes OSX a "Unix" operating system? The BSD (modified) Unix KERNEL, and BSD <> Linux because of that.

> 2) All work in the FOSS world is done based on demand, if you don't have winmodem support, or a working mouse (that made me laugh) then perhaps it's because there isn't the demand, or the people who demand the work fail to pay for it to be done.

Actually, all FOSS work is the product of different motives, usually (1) personal agrandizement (That's MY name on that!), (2) vendetta (I can make it better than you!), or (3) altruism (Make the world a better place, man); I am sure there are others. Its basically what some person(s) could be bothered to do in their spare time or while unemployed. (4) Long-term greed (We'll make our money in service contracts!) also counts as a motive, but then that is an "investment" and not necessarily spare time. None of that makes their FREE CONTRIBUTION in any way diminished; these are (generally) smart people who saw a need and filled that need, usually without getting paid for it. The economics of this are blatant; if you charged for it, it would not be as wide-spread, which knocks the first three motives on their ear.

>3) What exists is Free, what is yet to exist costs to make. Make a note and learn it for next time. If you want something done, make sure you have your chequebook out.

Which means that whatever "Free" and "Open Source" software out there was free to create? No, it just means that whatever has been done has been donated to the "community". What you espouse goes against the predominant viewpoint I have seen in the "community" (forums, shows, etc). There they say, "Can't find it? Just do it yourself!"

"Where do these people come up with such stuff?" THIS IS WHERE. People want Plug-N-Play the way it was advertised to them, and they want it in the "Free" (as in beer) OS they downloaded. The fact that the "Free" OS is not the one that advertised it makes no matter to Joe Blow. Joe has no political motive (stick it to the "man") for using Linux, he got it because he has an old PC, and can't get Win 3.x/95 to boot up anymore. If he wanted to get his "chequebook out", he would just buy new kit with the OS already on it, sit back with a beer, and call it a day.

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Linux

Google is Coming to Chew Gum and Kick Ass, and it's out of Gum!

Google is missing from this list of and this omission screams as to what MS really fears.

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Gates Halo

"NT kernel is more sophisticated"

"the real long term threat to Microsoft is the possible disappearance of the PC as a platform, to be replaced by closed platforms (thin clients, kindles, game consoles, etc). Why do you think they spent so much money on XBox?"

Could well be. How much do they lose for every Xbox they sell? And then there's Zune.

"the NT kernel is still technologcially more sophisticated than Linux or Apple's UNIX based OS."

Really? Where can I find informed discussion on this subject?

By informed, I mean something meaningful to someone who has worked in or near the kernels of Unixes (Venix, Sys V, BSD4.3, OSF/1, Linux 2.4/2.6), VAXELN, VMS, and of course Windows NT.

'Cos the description sure doesn't match what I've observed since I was first an MSDN subscriber, while NT3.x was still in beta test, or what I've observed more recently.

"People don't really want to buy a Yugo instead of a Ford"

Times change, companies may need to change in response. Once upon a time people wouldn't have bought a Skoda instead of a GM. Now, GM are dead in the water, and Skoda make some of the best value for money cars in Europe.

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Linux

Fact is,

Linux appears to be evolving to be easier to use. Microsoft appear to have passed their zenith. That doesn't mean linux will become dominant or Microsoft products will disappear from the marketplace. If anyone could see the future with confidence it'd make them rich.........

I admit to be a linux evangelist. I must have installed linux on twenty different machines with different hardware over the last three years, and it's amazing how much easier it has become. It'll be interesting to see how Windows 7 does, it will be make or break for MS. It's certainly better than Vista.

There are a lot of ill informed and wrong headed posts on El Reg these days. Maybe that's a matter of opinion and some people shall think that of me.......

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FAIL

@Don Mitchell

I suggest you read up a bit more about the technology behind Linux and Vista kernels before you make any more dumb comments about UNIX.

http://widefox.pbworks.com

"Too bad there is not a real advance in OS design, something new and creative, not just a political movement wrapped around an obsolete and ersatz software like UNIX."

Obsolete !? Tell that to companies like Google who run most of their infrastructure on Linux. Why do you think a company with as much money to throw around as they do are building ChromeOS out of Linux instead of creating something new?

Don't hold your breath for Microsoft to come up with something unique. Remember how they wrote the NT kernel in the first place? Oh, that's right, they didn't, they got someone else (DEC) to write it for them. That's how innovative they are.

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@Don Mitchell

"As far as OS platforms, the NT kernel is still technologcially more sophisticated than Linux or Apple's UNIX based OS"

Oh yeah it's so advanced that it can't even be run on embedded devices and mobile phones. No, Microsoft had to write new kernels for WinCE and WinMobile. Meanwhile plenty of devices run Linux kernels and the iPhone runs the OS X kernel.

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Non-story

It's a SEC filing FFS. They have to 'warn' people or get sued, as has been pointed out already. As for the stunning earnings drop and laying people off, well them's the times. Google just did it, and many others besides. (In fact, a 'recession' is a great time to shed a few pounds without upsetting the real value employees)

BTW - a few people here on about Vista and so on... We didn't upgrade from XP to Vista as I never saw the value. However... Win 7 is much lighter and works better - even in RC mode - and we will be upgrading.

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Linux Home Basic

Well, in my opinion Windows is still the best desktop and server OS by far, and will be for at least another few versions (read: decades). The continual Vista-bashing is just ill-founded, I've been using Vista HPx64 for about two years on one of my workstations and it is just fine, there are a number of things in it I even like over XP. As an IT it is also in two of the corporate locations I maintain, and it has been completely without issues.

IMHO the big competitor for the PC desktop is distros such as Ubuntu, which will continue to slowly grow in percentage up to a point. However, they will never have a large percentage of the general public popularity for two reasons: 1. they will never be supported by small to large software developers because the GPL/free ideology doesn't pay for the development of the software let alone any profit, the MS model of software development even for freeware and shareware is significantly better at only a small investment of purchasing at least one OS; 2. the community doesn't understand that the average end-user doesn't want to fiddle with learning all of the linux-geek command hassles su-su-sudo-oh-oh...

That being said, distros like Ubuntu will continue to gain some roads into the low-end PC market, simply because vendors/retailers can sell the low-end $400 boxes either at a lower price or at a higher margin by throwing away the per-system cost of Windows and putting a free distro on it. Even if a Windows 7 OEM license were as little as $50, that increases the price of the low-end boxes.

If MS is really concerned about the free Linux kernel distros, then along with Windows 7 for the standard users they should start selling XP Home retailed at $19.95 and OEM at $4.95 -- Ubuntu and the others would all but disappear on the desktop market.

If MS continues to not provide a low-end alternative world-wide and still retail the low-end XP/Vista/W7 OS at $125+, the Linux-based free OSs will continue to have a market.

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Coat

Linux printer support?

Last time I looked printer support was pretty good on Linux. It just works.

I've seen Linux do things Windows won't do. Supporting cameras, for example (Windows "needs XPSP2 or "higher", Linux just works).

Don't keep asserting that Linux is "pretty geeky" until you know what you're talking about. A modern distro is easier to use -- and a whole lot less fussy -- than a modern version of Windows. That''s why Chrome's the real threat -- Google's consumerizing a Linux distro for end users.

Apple might be overpriced and over-trendy but its a lot easier to tell people to buy a Mac. It'll cost more up front but the hardware's reliable (says "Consumer Reports", at least (that "Which" for US readers, BTW) and you won't have to be forever patching the thing. It will "just work".

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Troll

@Bob Gateaux

I for one, welcome our new resident troll. Delicately inserted logical fallacies. Hysterical conclusion, yet simply stated so it seems that it may be genuine. All tied together with some of the best fake broken english I've ever seen.

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Pint

Bob Gateaux

Personally, I've always considered Bob to be some sort of MS shill parody. The criticisms he makes of Linux are so laughably stupid that he cannot really be serious. Nobody can be that clueless.

Cheers Bob, love your work

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Re: deegee

>1. they will never be supported by small to large software developers because the GPL/free ideology doesn't pay for the development of the software let alone any profit, the MS model of software development even for freeware and shareware is significantly better at only a small investment of purchasing at least one

This statement is incorrect and is pure FUD. You can make quite a tidy profit writing software that runs on linux (ask Oracle). You can write closed source software for linux as long as you don't use or link in any GPL code for your application. Microsoft also has a nasty reputation of trying to crush any company that comes up with a killer must have application in its own ecosystem (ie Netscape, Lotus 123, Wordperfect, etc). Many companies prefer to work in the linux and or other open source ecosystems because they don't have to worry about a large easily angered control freak venegeful company telling them what to do in said ecosystem.

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Linux

some acceptance?

"Linux has gained some acceptance, especially in emerging markets"

Which is perfectly true if you define:

Some being "oh 80% or more"

and "emerging markets" being "all servers on the internet"

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it's an interesting point in the OS car journey

stop bickering in the car and look outside at the view

The best thing about this point in time I believe is that OS improvements are happening faster than at any time in the past. Windows 7 is a yin release that may have the effect of steadying MS's ship and reputation, especially when it is adopted by businesses (which it will be). Ubuntu is becoming a force to be reckoned with, and will be happy on the consumer desktop any day now, as soon as people stop faffing with it. And the market has proved that Apple (despite my protests to anyone who will listen) is quite happy to expand its niche.

None of these are going to die. The market's too big, and expanding with new products all the time. Paradigm shift we're seeing are with Linux starting to find its way into closed consumer devices, and virtualisation pushing both Windows and Linux servers in the datacenter.

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Already happened.

About a decade too late, huh? Just when Windows NT 4 was poised to drive those UNIX servers out of the computer room, along comes UNIX-work-alike Linux offering a simpler upgrade path to the economies of x86.

Microsoft have repeatedly lost ground since then.The cost of sysadmin of Linux systems is so very small (thanks to puppet and good package management) and with more and more virtual platforms pushing the price of hardware down it is system administration which is the dominant cost. We won't go into the joke that is running 32bit software on 64bit platforms, just to get application availability and driver stability when the Linux experience is pretty much the same between 32b and 64b.

From what I've seen of recent desktop Linux, Microsoft's problem with Linux is going to be that the freetards will have built a better user experience. Who'd have thunk that after years of banging on the "eXperience" drum that Microsoft could have dropped that ball so badly with Vista.

Windows Vista++ should really get some sort of AppStore/apt-get/yum equivalent to be vaguely in the same class of ease of use installing software. It should collect "driver packs" so people can just plug in hardware and have it work. It should get the user interface to security mechanisms right (and SELinux's nice auditing applet would be a good hint).

From a corporate point of view, Microsoft's unwillingness to play nicely with the other children continues to be a pain in the butt. There's no good reason at all why the HR system can't have a "corporate directory" module and be the major login authentication and authorisation source. Instead we've got all sorts of fancy software to sync HR with Microsoft's notion that it must be at the centre of the authentication and directory universe.

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Anonymous Coward

Call me cynical...

but I tend to feel that this is more of a ploy to get the antitrust regulators off their back; the fact they are talking about raising their prices makes me think M$ are too arrogant to actually feeling threatened.

This is not to say that Microsoft hasn't lost it's way... it clearly has and all evidence points to a long term decline in their fortunes.

But until business application companies start to develop for Linux in a serious way, Windows will continue to be dominant. There will be a tipping point though, at which business application developers decide the investment of porting their applications to Linux is justified by the returns and when this point is reached, I reckon their will be a huge move away from M$ products.

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Steganographic Trojan Colossus....... Google on the EnigmatICQ Turing Trail

""GooChrOS" isn't an OS, it's nothing more than yet another GUI running on Linux ... and Gawd/ess knows that Linux needs more GUIs ..." ... By jake Posted Wednesday 5th August 2009 12:55 GMT

Oh yes it is, Jake. And that's how Stealthy SMART Enabled IT is. Surely you never expected Google to fall into the Corporate Capitalist Honey Trap, and Play be Rigged House Rules? And their Alternative OS Approach allows them Access into Any and All other Operating Systems which browse/trawl/phish/plagiarise Information from and for Networks InterNetworking.

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What about the EU?

I've often wondered why the 'fair play in the marketplace' police from the EU *allow* Linux to be distributed there.

Really, giving away free software (Linux) must distort the marketplace, and unfarly hurt competitors (MS, Apple, SUN, all the other *nix-es). How is that allowable under the EU rules?

Give away IE and get fined a billion euros. Give away an entire OS, with a web browser 'bundled', for free and that's OK! Doesn't that sound crazy to anyone but me?

Is it just that Microsoft is a US company, and the EU countries (1) wanted a billion euros, and (2) didn't mind kicking the USA to get it.

Is it just that Linux has such a low market share that it (legally) doesn't matter?

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