Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 13th Apr 2009 22:11 UTC
Microsoft At the Linux Collaboration Summit, held last week in San Francisco, an interesting panel discussion took place about Linux' position in the wider operating systems market. Included were Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation executive director, Ian Murdock, Sun community and developer vice president, and Sam Ramji, Microsoft platform strategy director. Titled "Why Can't We All Just Get Along?", the discussion focussed on Microsoft's somewhat dubious relationship with the open source community.
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No, We Can't Get Along
by segedunum on Mon 13th Apr 2009 23:53 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

Linux and open source software has eaten Sun's Unix lunch and commoditised the hardware that they thought they were always going to sell. The odds are also very good that Linux and open source software will eat Microsoft's cash cow lunches, albeit taking quite a bit longer as it is far, far more difficult to commoditise software. Those are the only reasons why Sun and Microsoft are there.

Microsoft certainly has no problems with open source software, as long as it stays running on their platforms. Effectively, open source software on Windows becomes free development for Microsoft, and they've never been one to turn that down since it bolsters Windows.

Interoperability? As long as Microsoft continues to play standards organisation that many of us rely on, like ISO, as political table tennis then their words count for zilch:

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20090412131523897

Edited 2009-04-13 23:54 UTC

Reply Score: 11

v RE: No, We Can't Get Along
by Hiev on Tue 14th Apr 2009 00:24 in reply to "No, We Can't Get Along"
RE[2]: No, We Can't Get Along
by segedunum on Wed 15th Apr 2009 15:36 in reply to "RE: No, We Can't Get Along"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Hmmm, you don't get this, do you? If you're going to allege a lack of credibility then you're going to have to go through that article and say why.

You can't and never have done with anything you've ever tried to comment on, ergo, you have no credibility? Ironic, eh? That's why you get modded down as well.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: No, We Can't Get Along
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 14th Apr 2009 02:29 in reply to "No, We Can't Get Along"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

You're correct in saying that they most likely will not get along. Many of the things the open source community tries to do is in direct competition with Microsoft. Fostering compatibility between email clients and exchange is not in their best interests. Allowing alternative operating systems to seamlessly replace windows in an enterprise environment, is not in their interests. As mentioned in the article, the only thing that has moved them to interoperable with open source software is A) When the open source product has the largest market share, or B) when governments rattle the anti trust sabre.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: No, We Can't Get Along
by kwag on Tue 14th Apr 2009 06:13 in reply to "No, We Can't Get Along"
kwag Member since:
2006-08-31

"Linux and open source software has eaten Sun's Unix lunch and commoditised the hardware that they thought they were always going to sell."

(*Cough*) Take a walk (or invitation) to your local phone company (Verizon, AT&T, etc.) Central Offices and MTSOs, and you'll see SUN (metal) servers everywhere, and you'll be able to count (with one hand!) the number of PC's running Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: No, We Can't Get Along
by Soulbender on Tue 14th Apr 2009 06:22 in reply to "RE: No, We Can't Get Along"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

and you'll see SUN (metal) servers everywhere, and you'll be able to count (with one hand!) the number of PC's running Linux.


Dont forgot to check exactly when those big-iron servers were bought. Most likely not in the last couple of years...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: No, We Can't Get Along
by TemporalBeing on Tue 14th Apr 2009 17:23 in reply to "No, We Can't Get Along"
TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

Linux and open source software has eaten Sun's Unix lunch and commoditised the hardware that they thought they were always going to sell. The odds are also very good that Linux and open source software will eat Microsoft's cash cow lunches, albeit taking quite a bit longer as it is far, far more difficult to commoditise software.


Sorry, but you have that the wrong way around.

It is very hard for software to commoditize hardware.

IBM made hardware a commodity. Open Source software just brought better use of that same commodity hardware so that the commodity hardware could take the place of the non-commodity hardware. There still had to be commodity hardware for that to happen though - and that's thanks to IBM (for the IBM-PC) and Microsoft with its monopoly on DOS/Windows.

Software by default is a commodity. That is its nature. The difference is more market share - who has more software installations, or what standards are adhered to.

Microsoft tries to win on installs alone, screwing the standards in the process to grow their base.

Open Source Software, on the other hand, implements standards to the best possible degree and where possible implements all the non-standards too. This is what really irks the likes of Microsoft - the fact that a Mac, Unix, BSD, BeOS, Linux, etc. system could employ some software stack (e.g. an open source stack) and behave in the Windows environment without a Windows system knowing that it is not a Windows system.[1]

Why is software a commodity? Because while (yes) it does take time to write, debug, and maintain - the barrier to entry is very low - and only gets lower the more that commodity hardware could be used.

Thus, Microsoft will inevitably fall to Open Source or any other competitor once that competitor can break their monopolistic strangle hold on the market. Thus far, Open Source has been the only one able to do so because of how much further it goes into ensuring compatibility with both (a) Microsoft (in many many cases), and (b) ensuring portability across platforms. Add to that the low cost of initial development, the community behind it, and lucrative support contracts (as a result) for the players that join (e.g. Red Hat, Novell/SuSE, IBM, Oracle, Sun, etc.), and it's more just a matter of time before Microsoft with either have to give up, or become more IBM-like and join.

More likely than not, once Ballmer leaves, the next round of management will make them more IBM-like and they'll likely become more and more open-source oriented; likely even to the point of (in the long run) moving the Windows APIs to an open source community and becoming a distribution of sorts themselves where they provide the central, primary distribution (equivalent of Red Hat, Debian, Slackware, and Gentoo) and others provide similar distros (equivalent of uBuntu, Mandrake, etc.) only with the Windows NT Kernel instead of the Linux kernel; though with the full ability for either to be underneath.

[1] Why? Performance. Microsoft reserves their best performance in Windows-to-Windows interactions, even Windows-only APIs; and does their best to ensure that their Windows-to-Non-Windows and non-Windows-only APIs have lower performance. It's how they justify the need to be Windows only, and thus grow their base.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: No, We Can't Get Along
by segedunum on Wed 15th Apr 2009 16:16 in reply to "RE: No, We Can't Get Along"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Sorry, but you have that the wrong way around.

It is very hard for software to commoditize hardware.

I'm not too sure what you're talking about, but you only need to look and see how software has commoditised hardware by looking at the same open source software you can run on different hardware platforms and how once people started using Linux on x86 the expensive Unix workstation market Sun and SGI had disappeared overnight. Look at Java - Write Once Run Anywhere. It doesn't matter what hardware you use.

Software is not a commodity, yet, although open source software has gone some way. You only need to look at why people aren't jumping ship from Microsoft Office to Open Office. Everything has to work just so, not to mention people opening their existing documents, and that takes a lot of time, effort and code.

Edited 2009-04-15 16:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: No, We Can't Get Along
by google_ninja on Wed 15th Apr 2009 16:18 in reply to "No, We Can't Get Along"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Dude, you have to be kidding. Standards bodies are all about politics. The only thing worse then a standards body that accepts specs are the ones that create specs.

The best way to create a standard is write a spec, put it on the internet, and if it is good enough, people will use it. If enough people find it to be a good idea, the rest will use it for compatibilty, and you will have created a de facto standard. Thats how JSON came about, doug crockford bought a domain and put up a page with a good idea on it. JSON is awesome. The CSS spec is a steaming pile, and it was created by a commitee of competing interests.

Reply Parent Score: 2