22 posts • joined 16 Nov 2011
Microsoft needs to adapt to competition, learn cooperation and not be dependent on monopoly
For as long as Steve Ballmer can remember, computer users have used personal computers are their primary computing device and these personal computers have been pre-loaded with Microsoft software. This has meant (in effect) an enforced monopoly for computer users and a guaranteed income for Microsoft. In addition, Microsoft prevented competition by rigourously enforcing their own proprietary 'standards'. Not for much longer. Many users do not have PCs any more - just phones and tablets. In addition, many of these devices are far more web centric and standards complient than any Microsoft based software. Personal Computers are not dead just yet (especially in business) but the percentage of users that cannot get their work done without Microsoft software has dropped significantly.
In my opinion, Steve Ballmer is an inherent part of the old world and has not adapted well to the current situation. Opportunities are out there to make money across the computing world. Make Office 365 work equally well on Windows PCs, Apple Macs, Linux PCs, iPads and Android Tablets perhaps even iPhones and Android phones and you are on to a winner. Provide services that people want and can interoperate with other vendors/open source software and people will trust you. Create devices (like the XBox One) that work well as a home hub and you will make a fortune.
Microsoft need to stop their anti-competitive practices and start working with other companies and increase their market share by creating products or services that people want - like in the good old days when Bill Gates was in charge.
And its SO HARD to use other services if you want to isn't it!
What about Bing, Baidu, Ask.com, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo (and many more I haven't mentioned)! Google does NOT have a monopoly over searching, email, map or cloud services on the web (even if it is a market leader). Compare that with trying to buy a generic PC WITHOUT being forced to buy a copy of Windows (or you could have an Apple Mac if you are prepared to pay 2-3x the price). Just occasionally you can find somewhere that will sell a ChromeBook and I there are a handful of places in the UK that you can still buy a laptop without Windows being preinstalled. Funny how this much more serious monopoly is not being taken apart (across the world) whilst Microsoft attacks Google claiming anti-trust when they have their own search services, email services and cloud services! Why compete by offering decent alternatives when you can compete in the courts to try and prevent other companies competing with you!
Perhaps the enforced Microsoft Windows monopoly does not help...?
Why not offer a choice of operating systems rather than offering customers "Windows 8 - take it or leave it" (or perhaps Windows 7 if you are lucky) - or if you are very rich an Apple MacBook. Why not try offering ChromeOS or perhaps one of the "mainstream" Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora or OpenSUSE (rather than unknown and frankly unfit for purpose distributions like Linpus which is all that has been offered in the past). PCWorld sell several Chromebooks on their website but when I walked into one of their stores and asked to buy one - all bar one of their staff had never even HEARD of a Chromebook and they certainly did not have any on display (in the store that I visited) or have any in stock. Maybe this would not affect flagging sales (as many families just use iPads or Android Tablets now) but it would offer read CHOICE - something that has been missing from PC Sales for perhaps a decade.
Miguel promotes proprietary software and should not be taken seriously by the FOSS world
Considering that Miguel has been lauded by the .NET community and his company is selling development products for Mono (which is supposed to be cross platform) that won't even run on Linux or Free/OpenBSD I would not take any of his comments seriously. If he likes Apple Macs then good for him but I think his comments are irrelevent. I have developed on Windows (yes even including Windows 8), Apple OS/X (up to "Mountain Lion") and various Linux distributions (sorry BSD guys - I don't think your distros are any worse but just prefer Linux myself) and Ubuntu, Mint and RHEL/CentOS (which I use mostly) are excellent desktop operating systems to use on a daily basis. I am writing this on a Lenovo T410 running Ubuntu 12.04. Miguel just wants to put down the open source world and promote proprietary software which is what he is (mostly) involved with now.
There are lots of cross-platform solutions
Most of the open source toolkits are cross platform as that is one of the major design criteria for open source systems. Proprietary toolkits are (generally) designed to lock you into a particular platform such as .NET for Windows or Objective-C/Cocoa for Apple OS/X or iOS. It could be said that Android's UI code (authored in Java) and the Dalvik run-time engine lock you into Android but as both the Android operating system and Java/Dalvik code are open source this is perhaps less of a problem.
IMHO, the most sensible cross-platform toolkit for applications is HTML5 which is what is being adopted by the FirefoxOS as the development language and by PhoneGap and Mozilla WebRT
Write applications which are not just cross-platform but completely independent of where they are hosted (either on a server through a browser or locally on a client). These are the sorts of technologies which will ulimately kill off client locked technologies like .NET, Objective-C/Cocoa and yes even Android/Java.
Re: sign your own software
GPL is *dangerous* - oh yes it certainly is (especially GPL V3 which protects against software patents) as it protects the open source community from self-serving corporations like Microsoft, Apple or Oracle who would like to subvert/destroy open source projects by embrace/extend/extinguish. The GPL protects the community and so ENHANCES user security! Anybody who relies of security by obscurity is asking for trouble - that is how public key encryption first came about - the more people know about the METHOD of security, the more that method can be checked for flaws by the community.
Why not PAY GOOGLE to have NO ADVERTS in YouTube content
That way, those who are prepared to pay get a better service (i.e. no intrusive adverts) but those that don't want to can still see the content but interspaced with advertising.
This is Microsoft 'Trusted' (aka Treacherous - http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/can-you-trust.html) Computing taken to the next level. You cannot run ANYTHING on the computer unless it is approved by Microsoft. Luckily there are now alternatives and if Microsoft carries on like this then they will lose market share. I just hope that this happens (to some extent), their realize the folly of this approach and learn from their mistakes. Computers should be there to allow people to use them in whatever way they want to - not for companies (like Microsoft, Apple or other proprietary vendors) to take that choice away.
(km123) This is about Government POLICY overriding a PREFERENCE for Windows
The whole point is that open source software MUST be considered as a possible option whether on desktop computers or servers. If you already have Windows then you HAVE to consider other options even if you eventually end up renewing the current contract.
Have you ever tried to buy a PC recently which was NOT preloaded with Windows? Only a handful of companies will do so in the UK at the moment. This is an ENFORCED MONOPOLY on the desktop and would not be allowed in any other sector and should have been investigated and BANNED by the monopolies commission long ago.
I suspect that no real attempt has been made to TRY to use anything other than Windows.
I am working in a commercial company, and typing this up on a PC running Ubuntu 12.04 (and yes I swap documents with Windows and Mac users). It is just as viable a platform as Windows in many cases. With desktop/laptop PCs being a dying platform, I suspect that their decision will end up costing them dear in the long run.
So was using open source desktops considered AT ALL?
See this statement
"We will continue to open up government procurement, create a level playing field for open-source software and split large ICT projects into smaller components."
Level playing field - I don't think so. I think they just rubber-stamped another decade of Microsoft lock-in rather than honestly looking at alternatives. Perhaps HMRC feels more at home with Microsoft as Windows is effectively a 'tax' on open source community (PC users).
Why not follow the Spanish example and save (a LOT) of money!
Barclays is starting to get the message as well
Re: reason for Patch Tuesday
Have a look at these
Randomly not being discovered is not the same as being secure! It might be (using your analogy) that nobody was looking for the coins BUT if people suspect that the coins are there and then systematically hunt with metal detectors then they will find them. In the same way, many hackers systematically probe for open ports, suspected TCP/IP stack defects or similar flaws and if they discover a chink in the armour they exploit it.
That is why we use public key crytography and not hidden keys. It is inherently more secure, trustworthy and tested than a hidden key that (if revealed) will break open the system. What if one of the developers of the closed code system silently leaks the security secrets to a hacker group (which has happened several times)?
Re: reason for Patch Tuesday
Security by obscurity does NOT work.
Many eyes make light bugs.
If lots of people can see the code then many people can help to find possible exploits and fix them - and many 'exploiters' like to help with open source code as they can see what they are doing. I have helped fixed one particular stack smash bug.
Re: Microsoft Fixes
Patches - good, virus scanners - bad as far as I am concerned :) Everybody finds security holes but patching architectural problems (especially those which break binary compatibility) is harder on proprietary operating systems than open source systems.
Ubuntu Security Notices: http://www.ubuntu.com/usn
Ubuntu Updates: http://www.ubuntuupdates.org/
Red Hat watch list: https://www.redhat.com/archives/enterprise-watch-list/
Re: Microsoft Fixes
I run Ubuntu 12.04 and "Update Manager" has just run indicating 18 updates (50.9MB). As an example of a security flaw/report - https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/apparmor/+bug/1045986
There are a LOT of Linux patches - some are simple bug fixes and some are security flaw fixes as per Microsoft's release and I usually apply all of them (and could set them to be applied automatically as per many Windows boxes). You should view these in the same way as people view updates to the virus scanner database in Windows - except that these security flaws are actually being fixed rather than a virus scanner having to defend against unpatched security flaws in the operating system!
Security in Linux is not perfect by any means and yes a Linux system can be infected (I did a system penetration testing course on doing this - which is scary when you find out how to infect your own machine - which I did on a test machine - and it certainly makes you tighten up the security!) but having real fixes and patches beats anti-virus updates hands down. My Mum and Dad's machine is set just to update automatically (and they are no techies).
What is more scary (to me) is cross platform zero day exploits (like the recent Java one) which perhaps should be flagged by The Register as they have the ability to hurt Linux users as well. Having said that, most Linux users that I know do not enable the Java plugin in the browser and would not arbitratily run any old script!
As a Linux user I actually applaud Microsoft for releasing more fixes - but the persistent architectural flaws within Windows are causing many of these problems.
Ironically it is one of the reasons for the success of Windows that causes many of the problems - binary compatibility with programs dating all the way back to the days of MS-DOS. In order to support all of the 20+ years of applications, Windows must support all of the quirks and flaws in the architecture (and security models) of earlier versions of Windows in order to guarantee that earlier applications will run correctly on the latest version of x86 Windows. The most secure (and efficient) copy of Windows is undoubtedly the latest Windows 8 RT (ARM tablet version) that is NOT binary compatible with any earlier versions of Windows!
Open source systems (like Linux and FreeBSD) in which the SOURCE CODE is available for applications do not have to worry about compatibility between major releases of the operating system (or kernel) since the application is just recompiled (by the Linux distributor) against the new system library code. That means that earlier binary code almost certainly will NOT run on later versions of the operating system but ironically this also means that historical attacks on earlier Linux/FreeBSD BINARIES will probably not work on a later versions of the operating system as these have been recompiled (and in many cases changed). It also means that architectural flaws can be fixed (which break binary compatibility) - something that proprietary software vendors (like Microsoft and Apple) cannot do as they do not have access to the application source code.
Virus scanners give the ILLUSION of security as they use a black list of N known threats. As soon as (N + 1) appears then you are open to attack. It also means that as time goes on, the system gets slower and slower as it has to check against more and more threats, The proper way to deal with flaws (and all operating systems have them) is to FIX them as soon as they are known (as Microsoft is doing here and should be applauded for doing) - not trying to detect bad code at the last possible instant using a virus scanner!
In addition, Unix/Linux style operating systems (like Apple OS/X, Linux and FreeBSD) work on a 'sandboxed' security model in which a standard user has the least possible file privileges (i.e. can only modify their own files and NONE of the system files - to modify the system requires using admin (root) privileges for the shortest possible time). As a second safeguard, having additional restrictions as to what known applications can do - even with root privileges (as provided by AppArmor and SELinux) helps to prevent using these applications as an attack vector. As a third safeguard, having a standard (restricted) method of installing applications from known (and GPG key checked sources) - such as APT or YUM - reduces the likelyhood of introducing rogue applications - as does centralized App stores.
UEFI and 'trusted computing' does not make the system more secure (and there are UEFI viruses now) - just lock out competition which is what they are for.
Microsoft should ditch direct backwards compatibility but do as Apple did (with the move from OS/9 to OS/X) by having an emulator to run Windows 7 (and earlier) applications in a protected 'sandbox'. Only by breaking with the past can they fix long standing architectural flaws and remove the need for virus scanners forever.
H.264 = Proprietary lockin (forever) on the web, VP8 is about freedom from lockin
This is so damned depressing. We were very close to releasing ourselves from the damned proprietary lock-in propagated by the payware operating system vendors - Microsoft and Apple and backed up by the patent troll MPEG-LA - but now Firefox capitulates and backs proprietary lock in as a WEB STANDARD! That means we bake the need to pay these leeches into the very fabric of the web. A horrid Christmas present if there ever was one.
Bet they won't attack their friends Microsoft over the MS Surface - only FOSS foes
Microsoft almost certainly competes with Apple on their core turf but as tMS have such a low market penetration - Apple don't view them as a threat whereas Android Phones/Tablets are far more successful than Apple overpriced cr@p so therefore have to be attacked by any anti-competitive means possible.
I did have an Apple Mac - have sold it and bought new a PC (from PCSpecialist - who sell PCs WITHOUT WIndows) and it runs Ubuntu 12.10 beautifully. Like many here I will never buy another Apple (or Microsoft) product. Well done Apple - you have lost yet another customer due to your idiotic anti-competitive lawsuits.
Re: Chris W
I too use whatever I need to get the job done. I use Linux, Windows and OS/X on a daily basis.
My 'mission' (as you put it is) to show people that Windows is OPTIONAL - and that there is another option which is free, more secure and just as easy to use. If someone is happy with Windows then that is their choice - but if they are AWARE of another option then they can make their own mind up.
Both my children (12 and 9) use Linux (their choice) - they were both offered OS/X and Windows (I had another 2nd hand Mac which I later sold) - both love the fact that they can legally download and use whatever applications they want :)
TOS - I don't think so! Neighbour booted up laptop from live CD - took defaults from install (partition-wise) and asked one question (about doing updates during install). After reboot he needed one piece of help (to be pointed to the Medibuntu page) and needed no help from me (just did the cut/paste as directed on the page). Everything else was done from the Software Centre. Machine prompted him to load NVidia drivers (which he did).
Total time - about 40 minutes (including actual installation from Live CD). After a glass of beer to celebrate (+ showing off using Firefox + LibreOffice to his wife).
When Windows 8 appears and everybody has to relearn a new Windows yet again as with XP-to-Vista or Office 2010 - perhaps you will be shouting out about how much effort is required for people to migrate over and how much they have to read. No - I thought not :)
Linux is NOT harder than Windows and is just as suitable for the "rank and file" (as you put it) as Windows is (or for that matter OS/X).
Methinks you are terrified of people actually discovering that the "hard to use" FUD is just that - FUD. If a 12 and 9 year old child can use it as easily as Windows (and they actually think that Windows 7 is harder and non-intuitive) then so can anyone else.
Reply to Chris W
I have heard the FUD about Linux being harder to manage rolled out so many time over the years, Perhaps a decade ago that would certainly be true but not today.
Right. Not a fair comparison is it. Most people buy a laptop with Windows fully installed and configured and then just use it.
My next door neighbour has an Acer laptop . It was running Windows 7 and running slowly with virus scanner, malware scanner, Acer supplied unnecessary software etc. He asked me what I used.
I helped HIM install Ubuntu (he kept a paper log of what he did). About two hours later we have everything working (including multimedia). The laptop was MUCH faster under Ubuntu. He loved it and is still using Ubuntu and has loaded Ubuntu onto two friend's computers.
This is very much a typical experience. Modern Linux distributions (like Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS etc) are EASY to use and to administer. Epic FUD fail!
Do you think that Microsoft and Apple are attacking Linux (Android, Red Hat and other distributions) for no reason? Do you honestly think if Linux was that hard to use then they would be bothered?
FUD fail again.
Modern Linux distributions have graphical application managers which are very similar to App Stores in iOS and Android (by the way - Android IS based on Linux so anyone who is using an Android device is already using a Linux distribution!)
Have a look at Ubuntu Software Centre - and decide whether the comment above is FUD
Fail and FUD again :) Much easier than installing software on Windows IMHO!
Not everybody will like Linux - that's certainly true but at least if there were PCs running Windows, OS/X and (say) a couple of Linux distributions then there would be better choice.
BTW anyone who thinks there are no games for Linux have a look here:
Finally - if you want some REAL propaganda - look here
Why not migrate over an OS developed by a UK company Ubuntu/Canonical
Well technically Canonical have created a distribution as the development is world wide. I have used Ubuntu as my primary desktop in a work environment for just under 5 years now. In terms of substitutions:
* Ubuntu 11.10 instead of Windows 7
* Ubuntu 11.10 (with SAMBA, OpenLDAP + GOSA) instead of Windows Server
* LibreOffice 3.5 instead of Office 2010 (can now read Visio files as well)
* CUPS-PDF to generate PDF outputs
* Mozilla Firefox 10 instead of Internet Explorer 9
* Mozilla Thunderbird/Lightning 10 instead of Outlook 2010
* OpenProj instead of Microsoft Project
* GNUCash instead of Quicken
* Zimbra (or Citadel) instead of Microsoft Exchange
* Alfresco instead of Sharepoint
* MySQL (or PosgreSQL) instead of Microsoft SQL Server 2008
* GIMP instead of Adobe Photoshop
* Empathy instead of MSN
* Eclipse instead of Visual Studio
* Jira and Jenkins instead of MS Team Foundation Server
I can just hear the Microsoft supporters scoffing now. Not any longer. The dream IS possible. You do NOT need Microsoft OR Windows.(at all) - yes really (and yes I do swap documents/emails/messages and interoperate with people running Windows).
Instead of buying Windows licences - why not donate money to open source based companies (like Canonical or the Fedora Foundation - much better value for money.
FUD fail. It is no harder to run a PC with a modern distribution of Linux than Windows - in fact many ways much easier.
Have a look for yourself:
http://www.libreoffice.org/ (an office suite)
Just think how many £millions we could save in schools and government if we migrated from Windows to Linux - and not be tied to one (nearly) monopolistic vendor.
Instead of scoffing - why not (absolutely legally) download a copy of a Linux distribution and TRY IT!.
Both Apple and Microsoft are malicious anti-competitive companies
Software Patents (and some of the other patents to be honest) are not about protecting inventions from malicious copying - they are about preserving the market places of BIG existing AMERICAN companies at the expense of competition from anybody else.
Nobody seriously believes that the HTC Phones are a blind copy of the iPhone. To be honest I think that Android is a FAR superior operating system to iOS but that is my own opinion. If people like iPhones they will buy them - why should we be forced to buy overpriced Apple hardware/software and lock ourselves into Apple's "walled garden" where there are cleverer, cheaper and more open alternatives - clearly better.
If Apple cannot compete on merit then they certainly should not be protected by a clearly anti-competitive ruling designed to stop FAIR COMPETITION.
The same applies to the enforced monopoly of Microsoft Windows on desktops/laptops due to the anti-competitive practice of enforced pre-loading of their bloated, buggy and virus-prone software. Why should I be forced to pay for products that I do not want.
Windows has very limited embedded systems penetration
Microsoft is not 'moving everybody over to Windows 8' - in their dreams! They have particular markets where Windows (XP) IS in embedded systems. Scarily SCADA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCADA ) control applications (like electricity systems, water system or gas control systems) tend to be Windows CONTROLLED (although the actual actuator systems are RTOS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTOS ) or embedded Linux (e.g. http://www.windriver.com/products/linux.html ). EPOS systems (like tills) tend to be Windows XP as well. Most other embedded systems are RTOS or Linux - for instance nearly all set top boxes are Linux. What they mean is that they are PLANNING to migrate the Windows XP Embedded (or Windows 200x Embedded) systems over to Windows 8 (which is probably a good idea in some ways as Windows XP is a dead product).
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