back to article Microsoft tells US retailers Linux is rubbish

As the launch of Windows 7 approaches, Microsoft is distributing literature to American retailers claiming that Linux works with few peripherals or online services, offers limited software capability, affords no authorized support, does not work with games "your customers want," and cannot use video chat on any of the major IM …

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Gates Horns

Hey Microsoft

If Linux is so crap, then why are you so scared to allow OEMs to dual install it on their PC's?

Are you afraid that if you were to give users a choice that many of them would choose to say "fuck off Microsoft" perhaps?

Oh, and while I'm at it el reg, WHERE IS THE EVIL BALLMER ICON!

Or the one with Fat Steve with a Festeresque light bulb in his mouth at least!

Bill because, see above.

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Linux

I notice there is no section:

Keeping your OS and installed apps up to date

WIndows: Extremely difficult / Very Expensive

Linux: Easy.

But like, consumers don't want to be secure, do they.

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Grenade

Windows Live Messenger...

A casual Google suggests that contrary to the claims, there are several MSN/Live Messenger clients for Linux. Of course they're not MS software but they (presumably) work none the less so to say they're "not supported" is bogus too. Although I don't know why I'm surprised about any of this. Their marketing people aren't stupid and presumably recognise the threat from Ubuntu (compared to other Linux flavours)...

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FAIL

Microsoft Partner Program = FAIL

After seeing this post and another upon another site (http://www.overclock.net/windows/569458-microsoft-attack-linux-retail-level-probably.html), I sent an e-mail to Microsoft's Partner Program and asked for my account to be removed. When they asked 'why', I told them I no longer wanted to be affiliated with a company that uses unethical tactics for competitors (i.e. Linux).

As I am a long-time reseller/partner for Red Hat & MySQL, when it takes this type of FUD marketing to deal with competing products and/or services, then I really start to loose faith in a company's abilities -- especially from a partnership stance.

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Joke

Support includes

iPods.... which interestingly MS would like to kill off.

Perhaps it is time for Apple to downgrade the quality of iPod/iTunes for MS machines? (Note the joke alert!)

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All of the claims

are true.

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Linux

Foetid Dingo's Kidneys

What a load of <title>. I'm posting this using an HP notebook I picked up for a song because it had suffered a disk failure and the replacement was virgin - no Windows license included. So, I burned an Ubuntu disc, put it in the drive, and in very little time and with no real effort, here I am wirelessly connected (with encryption), networked to my HP LaserJet, running iTunes for my iPhone (via Wine), and using the same browser and email client I've been using for years (Firefox and Thunderbird).

I'm not bragging, just stating that this was an extremely straightforward setup - simpler by far than XP.

I've been using computers of one form or another since before many of you were born, since 1972 actually. I've had to learn quite a lot about most platforms I worked on, and I've worked on almost all of them at one time or another. I mention this because I had to check to see what version of Ubuntu I'm running (9.02 it says) because - sorry for the shouting - I HAVE NOT HAD TO LEARN SQUAT ABOUT LINUX BECAUSE IT JUST WORKS. And it works more reliably and with far fewer complications than any Windows I've used (and I actually still have the floppies somewhere for the text-based Windows Version 1).

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Linux

O noes!!!11

Microsoft bashes Linux with highly debatable 'facts'? News at 11.

The relentless and unstoppable slow waddle of the penguin carries on regardless. Ballmer might as well change his name by deed poll to Canute.

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Mixed bag

Some of this is just plain rubbish, but there are shreds of truth too.

Linux pros:

* USB and BT devices tend to "just work" without having to load up drivers etc.

* No virus problems.

Linux cons:

* Some stuff really depends on software supplied by device manufacturers, and that's all Windows specific. Apps for driving web cams, for example.

* Ubuntu etc still tend to need hoop-jumping to get basic stuff like youtube working. Yup, in theory Ubuntu will automatically install the plugins but is doesn't always do so.

* Get something problematic like a mild disk corruption that needs an fsck and most people are stumped. You need a tame *nixer to fix that sort of problem.

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Anonymous Coward

@Alan Esworthy

What happens if you put a FAT32 usb drive into your ubuntu machine and try to write to it?

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Microsoft doesn't work with peripherals...

My April 2007 Dell Vista Notebook wasn't compatible with its own "certified" Intel 945 gm graphics chipset, *nor* was it compatible with the DVD burner that Dell shipped in the machine. Took about a year and a half and *two* OS reinstalls (hours!) to fix those problems.

Recently reinstalled Windows XP on my mother's Compaq Presario desktop... took *5 hours*!!! And when it was through, it didn't recognize the Netgear USB wireless adapter... had to truck the wireless modem/router from its basement hole and move the computer to connect directly so that I could download the damn driver.

I installed fedora 10 Linux on the same machine. It took less than an hour and didn't have any problems with drivers for: the display, the usb mouse, the HP printer *or* the Netgear wireless router. Screw Microsoft. They only want your money.

Dress with Tux.

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iTunes works with Wine!!!?

Thanks. I might not have dared to try to install iTunes with Wine and sync my iPhone, but maybe I will now. That's about my last Windows specific app... my last reason to boot into Windows again, ever. ;-)

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Going Green

Compatible with most software? Arguable but who wants to argue?

What most people want (as long as we keep mum about those server room purchasers)? Well indeed, Yet a retailer with an eye on the Wall Street Journal will see that Apple makes a ton of money despite not being what most people want.

Still, it is most and not all isn't it? Perhaps the retailer should be advised "and those folks who want a Linux system are quite used to buying Windows and blowing it away. We make a sell, you make a sell, and the buyer ends up happy and how else could we achieve 100% satisfaction?"

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Stop

Alan E

I have had the opposite experince with Linux, crap wirelss roaming, if the wirless decides to work at all.

One laptop does not make a comprehensive test you know.

That said MS are being very unreasonable telling lies like this.

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FAIL

Titles are so last century

I remember (with distaste) my last XP installation. Load the operating system (about an hour). Load driver disks for motherboard, video card, sound card, scanner, three printers, webcam, TV card (about another hour). Load various applications from CDs/DVDs - half a day. Upgrade to latest service pack and updates around two hours

Then load Mandriva in the spare partition - about an hour. Load the NVIDIA video driver - five minutes. Load latest patches - an hour. Nothing else needed, as all the other peripherals 'just worked' and the appropriate application software came on the installation DVD.

So, what's easy?

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Unhappy

Unflattering penguin.

See how Microsoft chose a penguin who is sort of downward and unhappy looking for linux. maybe Linux needs an upward facing and happy looking penguin. things like that matter to the unwashed masses.

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Stop

WINE

Stop with the wine references. Saying that something runs on Linux via wine is misleading and dishonest(IMHO).

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Re

Morris: cant do anything but agree. i'm afraid they are all true.

Alan: perhaps that is because you have learnt everything along the way. try giving ubuntu to john smith and asking him to set up a wireless network or sync his itunes downloads to his iPod. with windows its easier. surely you cannot disagree? don't get me wrong, linux is great - i use it on my server - but these booklets are not intended for us tech geeks.

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Silver badge

This would be laughable, but try to remember ...

The idiots on the ground at most "home electronics" stores are brain-dead, minimum-wage slaves to whatever Corporate says they must do. Well over half of them probably believe the MS propaganda, because they quite simply don't know any better!

This in turn will be passed on to the consumer, who in general is even more clueless.

The truly sad thing is that there is no way to prosecute Microsoft for what is (in essence) "false advertising by proxy" ... I get thrown out of "office supply" stores on a regular basis for loudly allowing as to how the sales-droid is clueless, simply parroting the company sales pitch, and can I please talk to someone with a little bit of technical knowledge?

It's hard to fight a huge corporate marketing machine with a gigantic war-chest ... but I have found that when addressing individuals & small groups it helps to point out that Microsoft does not exist to help individuals get on with their computer needs, but rather Microsoft exists to pay it's corporate shareholders. Linux & the BSDs (including GNU, GCC, Sendmail, Apache, Mozilla, KDE, Gnome, et ali), on the other hand, exist because someone had a need for a computer tool, wrote it, AND DECIDED TO SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD.

There is a big difference, at least in my mind.

Another thing to think about is that huge corporate entities will eventually go away. Where are Burroughs, Sperry, Allied Signal, Philco, Amdahl, Remington Rand, DEC and ROLM? What about fscking Enron? All gone.

On the other hand, FOSS, by its very nature, is here to stay ... and I think Microsoft is not only scared spitless, but too much of a dinosaur to be able to change its business model fast enough to remain viable for another ten years (or so).

Time will tell. Onwards & upwards.

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Bronze badge

Just Because It's FUD

doesn't mean it isn't the truth. Because of Microsoft's dominant position, to most ordinary people, a computer with Linux on it instead of Windows would be a lot less useful.

Of course, Microsoft has done a lot to keep it that way, but disingenuousness is not the same as inaccuracy.

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Flame

Well, well, well, well...

We know the perception that Microsoft wants to create regarding Linux.

What we also want to know is the perception regarding Mac. A depliant about this meant for professional salespeople MUST exist. Oh wait, you mean they have lawyers on call?

Windows has its advantages. Where do you get treated to an arcade game of "you may be in trouble/upgrade now/download XYZ/consider upgrading for a fee/agree to this-and-that EULA" popups and sundry retarded and mutually inconsistent dialog boxes for hours on end _for free_ the first time you switch on a newly bought machine?

...And then you still get to install Vista SP2 manually. The win cannot be topped.

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Gates Horns

What a pity

that false advertising isn't illegal.

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AC@0224

@Alan Esworthy #

By Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 9th September 2009 02:24 GMT

What happens if you put a FAT32 usb drive into your ubuntu machine and try to write to it?

It just works. Even an NTFS one would just work. Though why would anyone in their sane mind want to use FAT/NTFS on flash storage I don't know...

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Why so surprised?

Be honest, if most companies could simply print outright lies about their competitors' products, they would do.This is no different to the fact that, if they believed they could get away with it, Ford would tell you that you would die screaming, in the flames of your wrecked SUV, if you bought a Mitsubishi. In fact, since the target, here, is 'Linux' (as a way of using computers) as opposed to buying everything from Microsoft, this is more like Ford attempting to prove that cycling gives you cancer. 'Linux' isn't a competitor, in the sense that Apple or IBM are, so Microsoft can - and will - print and publish whatever it likes. Who's going to sue?

The one thing you can be sure about, is that this is nothing to do with ensuring customers can make informed decisions about their purchases.

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Grenade

Missing the point

Rather than claiming that Linux is incompatible with most devices (technically incorrectly), Microsoft should just point out how easy it is to set them up in Windows, and how bloody complicated it is in Linux.

I'm sure the Linux fanboys are whining about how every item in the list can be achieved just fine in Linux, but the fact is 99.9% of consumers don't have the patience or motivation to try.

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Megaphone

Microsoft went off the boil ALONG time ago.

almost all their products are inferior to the competition

Xbox (poor mans PS3)

IE (not as good as Opera, Chrome, Firefox or Safari)

IIS (not as good and much more expensive and less flexible than Apache)

Silverlight (poor mans Flash)

Windows (poor mans MacOS)

Zune (poor mans Walkman/iPod/iRiver)

The only 2 products that are still better than other peoples, are their developer tools (Dev Studio) and Office.. When all your products suck so badly compared to everyone else's, the easiest thing you can do, rather than making them better, is to brainwash clueless consumers with propaganda.

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Gates Horns

Most people believe these lies anyway

Real world experience:

Installing Vista on a desktop with Nvidia graphics card, run of the mill motherboard with Nvidia 2 chipset, a Topcom wireless adapter, an HP printer and a cheap webcam. Result: no drivers for the motherboard chipset, no drivers for the wireless adapter. Vista not working.

Installed since then Ubuntu 8.10 and 9.04, openSuse 11.1, and Mandriva 2008, ALL worked without asking for any driver, wireless card just works, even the webcam.

In case you wonder why all the different distributions? It's a system with removable harddisks, so I can switch the OS in a matter of seconds, and I like to experiment.

Who are they kidding though?

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And...

Does anyone really expect any company not to do all it can to defend and expand its market position? At least Microsoft haven't got round to sponsoring coups, hiring private armies and destabilising foreign powers. On an unethical scale of 1 to 10 this campaign rates about a 0.5. Wow, a handful of people might not buy a Linux net box or whatever because of it - big deal.

Despite some of the major Linux distros now being owned by large companies I haven't noticed them marketing to the consumer in an effective and ruthless manner like Apple and MS. If Linux really is ready for the mass market this is what is required, technical superiority isn't enough, as those of you who might remember Betamax video will know.

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Anonymous Coward

@danny_0x98

"...will see that Apple makes a ton of money despite not being what most people want......"

Umm. You do realise the absurdity of this statement now you get the chance to re-read it, I hope?

I agree that generally speaking no-one wants MacOS but Apple make their money from iPods, iPhones and assorted consumer equipment, not computers.

You may see a lot of people here slagging off iPods and iPhones but they just have some irrational beef that makes them try to project their own desires on an otherwise contrary world.

People want iPhones and iPods.So they buy them. And Apple makes bucketloads of dosh selling them.

Your statement is equivalent to claiming that the Zune is the world's number one music player because Microsoft make a lot of money.

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FAIL

@AC 9/9/9 2:24

<quote> What happens if you put a FAT32 usb drive into your ubuntu machine and try to write to it?</quote>

It works instantly with no problem at all reading and writing, as it does if said USB drive contains FAT16, NTFS, ext3, ext3, ext4, HFS, HFS+, xfs and probably a load of other file systems I've forgotten to mention.

Same question for Windows (any version).

What happens if I plug USB drives with all of the above file systems on it into a Windows machine. Works for FAT, FAT32 and NTFS but none of the others. Oh dear :(

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Bringing truth and light to MSS Fanboyz

By Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 9th September 2009 02:24 GMT

What happens if you put a FAT32 usb drive into your ubuntu machine and try to write to it?

Um, it writes a fat32 file? Actually for as long as I've used Debian (since 1999), portable storage has been mounted as an MS file system to make cross platform transfer of files easier. You can, of course, change file systems easily enough for some particular reason.

By Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 9th September 2009 04:20 GMT

Stop with the wine references. Saying that something runs on Linux via wine is misleading and dishonest(IMHO).

Why is that? Is saying that you can recharge you batteries from the wall socket misleading or dishonest? You do use a wall brick to transform the 120/240V 60/50Hz to a small DC voltage, don't you? How ever can you say you're charging from the house current?

WINE is simply a wall brick that provides Windows applications with the "right voltage" from the Linux house current.

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I like this

Especially the bit that says Linux doesn't support messenger. Surely that is a good thing, one huge reason to go to the penguin.

Having spent four hours last night trying to install office 2003 in vista and getting setup.exe is not a win32 application, I am so glad I made the switch to linux.

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Anonymous Coward

@Jan Hargreaves

If you know Windows then it's easier on Windows. No shit, Sherlock. If you find a computer agnostic geek and present him with the latest copy of the major operating systems, I'd guess something like OS X, Linux, Windows.

Personally, on Windows, I can never keep track of which window I'm supposed to be paying attention to. And why do windows with config stuff in them look the same as windows with files in them?

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@Anonymous Coward 02:24

I can't comment for what happens on Alan Esworthy's machine, because I are not him, but on my Ubuntu machine, a laptop with stickers on it saying its made for Fista, when I plug in USB-fat32 it magically opens a file manager "work-space" (not a window) and I can copy, delete, whatever, files to it, with no problems I might add.

What were YOU expecting to happen AC? as you did not state it.

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On WoW

I tried to move to Linux but playing WoW just became a real pain the backside. Not because I couldn't run WoW through Wine - I could - but because my guilds voice com app (Teamspeak) was just a real technical nightmare to get working. I might try again when Teamspeak 3 comes out but I've already preordered Windows 7 which is a dream to use.

The slides Windows have been distributing are extremely misleading however. I had absolutely no compatibility issues or problems getting the software I wanted when I moved to Linux, it was just one app (that hasn't had a major revisons in over 5 years) that caused me problems.

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Microsoft isn't lying

I've been using various distributions of Linux for over 10 years and will continue to do so, but as for the claims made by Microsoft ... What are you complaining about? They're all true ... Consumers need that kind of information...

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WTF?

XP?

I find it funny that some of you compare the latest version of Linux to XP. You know, XP, the 8 year old operating system against Linux distributions barely a few months old. And you wonder why it takes so long for XP to recognise your cards and peripherals. Maybe if you repeated your test with Windows Vista or even Windows 7, then you'll find that it recognises your stuff in seconds, unlike Linux.

But you geeks continue trying to justify Linux and let the real world just get on with just using computers, whatever OS is on it.

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Gates Horns

Getting what you deserve.

Anyone who takes the word of a Corporation with a record like Microsoft's deserves all the lies they hear.

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Grenade

Call a spade a spade

"But many of the claims are misleading at best."

But many of the claims are just down right lies.

There ya go Reg corrected for truth.

I have a couple of friends that use windows live, so I created a live account in order to chat to them via messenger. I don't know which part of windows live doesn't work under Linux, for I have not had any problems using Ubuntu and Firefox with the service.

Perhaps there are some features within windows live that use proprietary technology in which case any failure of any browser under a Linux distro would be the fault of MS for shunning open standards.

Linux is still not ready for the desktop as far as your average, never used a computer before types go. Nor is it ready for those who are used to MS software making all the decisions for them. It does however get closer with every release and this frightens Microsoft.

Finally. when has dis-information and FUD not been a part of MS marketing strategy?

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It never fails to impress me

When I download a linux CD image (I've tried a lot of distributions), burn a CD, boot it, and the free software comes up having configured all my hardware and I open the browser and I'm on the net - no drivers to install, no configuration to do. If I go wi fi I put in a short set of magic numbers and there we are.

Windows can't run from a cd and needs me to find a bunch of driver disks to make anything work, and this I have to pay for.

Most applications I need are in the live cd I make and the rest can be downloaded easily.

The only reason I still use windows is one particular application that doesn't have a linux version - Fugawi maps.

In my experience WINE is not an answer for a busy person who hasn't got time to mess about all day.

I reckon many people have difficulty with linux because they assume it works just like windows - they do need to read some couple of paragraphs about the essential differences, particularly with permissions.

But I would tell anyone - get a live cd and boot it - what can you lose apart from your chains to microsoft

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Ububtu V Vista

Shockinly Ubuntu will work with my scanner and onboard sound out of the box (so to speak). No such joy from Vista, which despite various attempts to fix itself still fails on both count.

My Xubuntu-based samba server is visible to my Ubuntu machine and netbook, and my two XP Home machines, but strangely not to my XP Pro machine for reasons I cannot fathem.....

Easy, eh?

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Happy

Does this mean

Microsoft are developing a Linux version of windows live 'essentials'?

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FAIL

Missed the point

All these commments listing technical reasons why Microsoft's 'analysis' is wrong (or right, depending on your affiliation) are fine but what I'd like to know is what Microsoft's marketing people were thinking? Since the release of the first public beta they have had a public relations dream with Windows 7. The majority of people who've tried it love it, even many who were stung by Vista, and have spread the word. Previews, reviews and blog postings have been extremely postitive. Magazine articles have repeatedly sung the praises of "Microsoft's best operating system yet."

Is there really any need for sniping at the competition in any form at this stage? Windows 7 is going to be a massive, massive success with those planning to upgrade or buy it preinstalled, and a great chunk of those have made that decision already. Microsoft aren't going to push the numbers much higher playing games like this; on the other hand people who are teetering on the edge of decision may just decide that seeing money wasted on competition-slating half truths is enough to convince them NOT to wing their money to Redmond.

As for the "sales partners", dear God. Are they really so technologically challenged as to require great big simplistic, primary coloured, easy worded flash cards to be able to flog their wares effectively? It's like looking at something from a nursery school.

Very sad.

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Re: WINE

"Stop with the wine references. Saying that something runs on Linux via wine is misleading and dishonest(IMHO)."

Why? A program running in WINE is very different to the same thing running in a VM. Some Windows apps actually run faster via WINE than native Windows. You also don't need a Windows license. So, it can be argued that in many cases it's actually advantageous to run a Windows app via WINE than in Windows.

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WTF?

Re: AC@02:24 GMT

What happens is exactly the same as windows, almost any version of linux since 1998 happily writes correctly to the memstick (almost all decent distros automount it for you as well). You may be thinking of ntfs instead of fat32. Even then many modern distros include ntfs-3g write support by default (although I recommend against this in general for noobs because if ntfs is marked dirty linux won't write to it not to mention if doing a lot of IO in linux I have seen ntfs get corrupted under linux but this is more M$ fault for going out of there way to fight interoperability). As for linux over windows for noobs I could care less as long as I never have to work for another crappy windows only shop again (ever notice windows only shops have the most parochial developers and as well as the biggest dickhead M$ ROI coolaid drinking managers?).

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Linux

Time for Linux to wake up

As much as I hate the tactics used by MS, their facts are not far from the truth. I moved to 100% linux (ubuntu 9.04) some time ago, and there is *a lot* of work on usability in Linux. A LOT.

Also, my printer is 'supported' but the quality is crap, so I have XP in a VM whenever I need to print pictures.

Video chat indeed doesn't work well, or try to find *any* open client that combines IM and VOIP well. Only one is available (empathy) and they are STILL busy fixing their bugs to get VOIP to work well.

NONE of the email clients comes close to what outlook offers. Can you imagine that the thunderbird addressbook doesn't have a field for birthdays? This is 2009, you stone-aged idiots. It will be supported in a few months. Wow.

Sometimes I think of handing MS the money and install windows. Just to get my work done instead of fiddling with linux for hours to get it working the way it should.

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What a load of bing

Almost everything they list is a load of bing. They do have a point about video over IM. I note that they do not mention security, running on low-spec hardware or running on very high-spec hardware. I guess most customers don't want a supercomputer or a cloud, but if you do.....

I've never had to install a camera driver in Linux, all cameras use ptp and gThumb imports from everything I've ever plugged in. Installing my wireless printer took 5 minutes for each of my Linux boxes, on a vista laptop it took almost an hour (Even with all the HP crapware turned off). iPods are eaten for breakfast by most linux media players (amarok, rhythembox), not sure about zune but no one owns any so not really an issue. As for old hardware, my 1998 TV card never even ran in winXP, but works a treat in every Linux distro I've used since 1999.

The only part of the web that doesn't work under Linux is Macromedia shockwave and silverlight, but that's fine by me. (I know about Mono - I've chosen to skip).

Games?? Buy a console. Anyway, what's wrong with KTron??

So are Micros~1 saying this because:

(a) They genuinely believe it or

(b) They are scared shitless

My guess is that Balmer is an (a).

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FAIL

re: What a pity

Indeed, as every part of their business would be sued, Like the Xbox Movie service adverts recenty that told you Xbox from £159 (the £159 model needed another £90 spending on it to get a hard drive, and then another £40 a year to get the privilege of paying even more to download movies)...

Still in this world of morons, Microsoft are keen to take advantage of their stupidity.

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Grenade

Nothing to see here

Move along.

All of those claims are true. Very, very true. I've tried using CentOS, Ubuntu from 6.10 up to 9.04, Fedora Core, and Mandriva, and *none* of them have supported wireless connectivity out of the box. I use a very mainstream Belkin 54g network card, and have done for around 4 years; Plenty of time to get a driver which works into any build.

I'll not get into 3D graphics, gaming, and emulation requirements. Someone has already stated that claiming a product "runs on Linux" through WINE is being no less deceptive than any of this Microsoft FUD.

FUD doesn't have to be un-true, by the way.

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