Home > Microsoft > The assault on software giant Microsoft The assault on software giant Microsoft Eugenia Loli 2005-05-09 Microsoft 48 Comments The next two years will be crucial for software giant Microsoft. Under attack on numerous fronts, it could falter – or fight back to become even more dominant. In the first of two reports, BBC examines the challenges facing Microsoft. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 48 Comments 2005-05-09 6:56 pm Nothing has really changed in the last 5 years. I think Microsoft’s stake in the server market has been increasing, as well as Linux’s, with proprietary Unix being the loser. Who knows what OpenSolaris will bring to the game. Unix on the desktop is too factionalized, with not enough standards to be a threat to Microsoft on the desktop. If there was a standard (or at least dominant) toolkit, desktop environment, then Unix might have a chance. Mono or Java has to become a bigger player in the Unix desktop as Microsoft moves to managed code. 2005-05-09 7:00 pm In fact, digital home is NOT an area where anyone needs MS. MS may be understanding this and trying to overrun this ground early. Digital home is, in fact, a lot of devices (home electronic, NOT computer level) joined together with a network and talking to each other. MS do not come to mind when i think of auto-configuring network that works. Also MS do not come to mind when i think about interoprietability. Digital home is thing you buy once 5, maybe 10 years. You don’t really want to upgrade it, maybe just some components that become obsolete fast. So MS would want to charge A LOT for such system, to keep their profits. On other hands, consumer electronics is not computer. You don’t want to install software into it, you don’t want to use your VCR as office machine, you just need predefined set of software that works on such devices. In “Predefined software that works” contest clear winner is linux, and it is free to one actually making this digital home – i.e. hardware vendor and deployment service. So, on occasion, they would try to skip MS tax and deploy their own solutions. And as number of houses is huge, one-time development might be cheaper than per-unit tax. Just my 5kop. 2005-05-09 7:02 pm “I played around with it a bit, but it’s just another browser, and IE [Microsoft’s Internet Explorer] is better,” Mr Gates told me, and challenged my assertion that Firefox’s ‘market share’ is growing rapidly. nowonder, micorosft is s famous for being so uninovative. 2005-05-09 7:04 pm Unix on the desktop is too factionalized, with not enough standards to be a threat to Microsoft on the desktop. If there was a standard (or at least dominant) toolkit, desktop environment, then Unix might have a chance. Actually, what will end up really happening is the the Linux desktop will come Win32. Examples would be GTK+ or Qt (once the win license issue is resolved). For instance, using GTK it fairly trivial to write cross-platform apps. Traditionally, windows has been used in many places where a “general purpose OS” was not needed. Call centers, Airline / Train Arrival-Departure kiosk, etc…. I would think that many of that would be prime real-estate for the first growth spurts of a “linux desktop”. I’ve heard rumors that Novel is working on a Point-of-Sale system that will feature PXE booting linux thinstations. That would be interesting….. 2005-05-09 7:34 pm I really do not mean to offend you, but would you remove your head from the sand. The days of Microsoft are numbered, and even large corporations like the BBC know it. The BBC has embraced the OSS philosophy, and have even gone as far as releasing television programmes with an open source license, they are part of the “open archive” along with discovery uk and channel 4 What I honestly would like to know, is why some people blindly defend microsoft, no matter what the discussion is about ? 2005-05-09 7:38 pm “What I honestly would like to know, is why some people blindly defend microsoft, no matter what the discussion is about ?” Hm, at least for once this defending of MS is totally on topic here, so there really is no reason to complain. I would also disagree, that the days of MS are numbered, what I think is numbered (hopefully), are the days of 98% market share, a quasi monopoly and a total stranglehold on the market. The good thing is, everyone, including rabbid MS fanboys, will profit from such a development. 2005-05-09 7:47 pm I actually do not think the fanboys will ultimately benefit… if the microsoft market share is reduced to say….. 75%… the remaining users will have to pay increased costs for the stuff they are already paying through the nose for… let me explain… if 2000000 people buy a piece of kit for £1… that is £2m if only 1500000 buy the same thing for £1 it is only £1.5m so. the deficit of 500000 people mean the rest have to make up the shortfall of £500000 to make the original amount “the same”…. see, that is the point, microsoft is there to make a profit… they are not there to make a better product for a lesser amount of cash ! if people switch to linux or mac os, then the people staying with windows will be less well off than they now are 2005-05-09 7:51 pm You are falsely assuming that prices for software and especially for MS software have got anything to do with real prices dictated by the costs of production. That’s simply not the case, so I think your point is mute. However, what I was refering to, is that consumers ultimately profit from competition as it leads to lower prices (it really does) and better products. 2005-05-09 7:55 pm This says everything: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=MSFT&t=6m I am so glad I sold my MSFT stocks with minimal loss and I am out of this bottomless rat race. My broker has done a thorough analysis of the company and says Microsoft is only going down from here on. 2005-05-09 8:00 pm I like Linux but there is too much fragmentation and silly quabbles like KDE vs. Gnome. MacOSX is great but not enough market penetration. Microsoft does not have to innovate anything. All they have to do is make sure that on every single PC that is sold some version of Windows ships with it preinstalled. They have nothing to fear from Apple or the Linux camp for the time being. 2005-05-09 8:01 pm The gloom and doom Microsoft articles are always thick in the year before a new OS release. However they still maintain their OEM installation monopoly on desktop machines. Firefox is better than IE, but IE comes with your computer and is good enough. The same thing will happen with .NET/MONO. People will be reluctant to download mono when their computer already comes with .NET. Reguardless of the scare stories it will still take a while before the OEMs offer anything besides Microsoft preinstalled. Longhorn doesn’t even have to be all that great and it will still win. It is interesting to speculate that a good Wine implementation could run old windows software better than Longhorn. However it’s open source nature makes it difficult to translate into a Linux alternative. Instead we’d just see Wine ported to Windows. The same goes for any other killer apps. If they’re killer enough then they’ll get ported. Most likely we’ll see the alternatives keep growing slowly but steadily until some point in the far future when the OEM market breaks. Until then the alternative desktops will remain in specialized use. Michael 2005-05-09 8:02 pm Except .Net, they haven’t release any impacting technology in the last 5 years. XP is viewed by many as a glorified W2K, and IE seems to be frozen in time, except for the security updates. Most users can’t see the real benefits of the latest Office releases either, there isn’t much useful funcionality to be added. 2005-05-09 8:08 pm Microsoft will rule until the end of time. Why ? Because they own all new computer desktops and therefore software makers only develop for it. Then if a user wants to switch they are told they can’t if they want to use that software because the software maker doesn’t want to port all that crappy complex windows code. Stop the OEM-Microsoft conspiracy and you could have some real challengers. Hell, maybe something more secure than Linux might come along. 2005-05-09 8:19 pm If they continue to dominate the the desktop market then their users can continue to bear the brunt of the malware as well. Suits me fine. 2005-05-09 8:24 pm BBC saying that Microsoft’s days are “numbered” is irrelevant. I don’t think they even said that. Having the BBC “embrace” open source means zilch. What I honestly would like to know, is why some people blindly defend microsoft, no matter what the discussion is about ? why do some people blindly defend open source, no matter what the discussion is about? 2005-05-09 8:39 pm On the other hand, software company who develop software with portability in mind, using crossplatform toolkit will become dominant. If I code my app in c++/python + wxwidget. My comsummer base will remain intact, event if they switch to linux/OSX/Windows or other. This will have the side effect of bringing more competition on every OS as well as MS. This will lead to cheaper software on every OS, and business using lockin technology like MFC+VB+.net/Cocoa will be unable to reach enough audience to compete well. (will MS/Apple adapt?) Portability will prevail 😉 2005-05-09 8:42 pm Right now MS is like VAX. It is entrenched and people (users and devs) know it well. Even if they do not innovate substantially over the next few years they will retain momentum. However at some point they need to make a big bang re-entry or suffer the concequences 2005-05-09 8:45 pm Apple with cocoa is not concerned with portability. Apple could care less that cocoa does not work on other OSes – Developers on the other hand should care since their apps do not work on other OSes since they are not maximizing their profits 2005-05-09 8:47 pm ” Good thing I dont have any malware problems. My OS is also rock solid and runs great. I’m not talking about Linux, but Microsoft Windows XP!” Congratulations on being the exception. Good to know you and the few like you will always be there to feed MS cash. 2005-05-09 8:49 pm simply because there is so much investment in windows apps that it doesn’t make sense to switch to something else despite it being superior alternative. Windows is in competition with itself as can be seen with winxp vs. longhorn. MS probably worries more about that than about other oses. 2005-05-09 9:04 pm “Apple with cocoa is not concerned with portability.” For a long time, only few specialize software company develop for Apple using their framework. If there is strong competitor with a big profitable userbase, these specialize company will have no choice but to build the app for all OSes if the want to remain competitive. If apple is building a complete framework thats become less used and cannot attract new client, It will be somehow a failure. They need to tell developpers what Sun tried years ago, develop here for everywhere. Maybe I’m wrong and it does matter that much, but as I see it, it could be a big win. 2005-05-09 9:07 pm I am a macuser at home, perosnally LOVE my powerbook and tiger. At work I maintain and admin windows machines (and a few macs). I do not have malware & I do not have viruses on my WinXP machines. Yes there have been a few updates when DATs were not readily available, but in the last 5 years that I have been at my current position there was only one tiny outbreak (a couple machines), and that was fixed in less than 30 minutes. There is a ton of cr@p out there for windows, but users have a personal responsibility to keep their system well protected. If you have not invested in good virus protection, if you have not installed antispyware software, if you dont have a firewall running, and if you don’t have things update often (or even better autoupdate) – then you are asking for it -just like some of my friends that spend most of their time playing games rather than keeping an eye out for the nasties 2005-05-09 9:25 pm Microsoft can always remove the competition through price cuts . Removing price out of the equation is one thing that makes people heavily favor alternatives. While revenue might decrease in the short term, in the long term, they will increase their market penetration to all sorts of markets and the cheaper OS will increase business investments into technology. Imagine this, Microsoft drops the price of Windows to $15 / year for unlimited patch downloads. They sell a 5 pack (family) license for $40 / year and sell a 100 pack business license for $500 / year. At the same time, they drop the price of Office to a one time fee of $20 / license or 5 x family pack for $80 and charge a $10 update fee. By doing this, if they can offer a superior user experience, they will essentially remove any cost reason to use an alternative. At the same time, Microsoft aggressively goes after the embedded device market/home entertainment using their popularity (and integration) to leverage themselves into cars, phones, tv’s, microwaves, airplanes, homes, and everything else. 2005-05-09 9:26 pm Microsoft has spent hundreds of millions on the development of Longhorn. What does it actually mean if Longhorn is disppointing and is still suffering the same old problems that are plaguing Windows now? This means no intelligent being will spend money on Longhorn and vendors will not enter new contracts to ship their computers with Longhorn installed but go with Linux instead. Microsoft will never be able to recoup these huge development expenses by selling X-boxes or other software which means that if Microsoft doesn’t come up with better products very quickly they will be history. 2005-05-09 9:33 pm in the future i see, MS-BSD 1.0 server / desktop (Microsoft BSD 1.0). free to download for personal use. paid support for corporate. wonder how many people will stay with linux or other bsd then? 2005-05-09 9:54 pm “I actually do not think the fanboys will ultimately benefit… if the microsoft market share is reduced to say….. 75%… the remaining users will have to pay increased costs for the stuff they are already paying through the nose for… let me explain… if 2000000 people buy a piece of kit for £1… that is £2m if only 1500000 buy the same thing for £1 it is only £1.5m ” your in ability to grasp the concept of basic economic’s is asstounding, Basic principle of Ecomonics, Supply and demand… when deman drops you decrease product price to entice people to use it, when demand increases you can raise price because it is in high demand. e.g. Diesel in UK was cheapest fuel for cars, far cheaper than Unleaded or 4Star (Leaded Petrol), because of low demand, right until, UK government banned Leaded fuel, when Diesel demand increased due to influx of large numbers of Diesel fueled cars, so the price increased, and now Diesel is most expensive fuel for cars. that is an example of basic economics, so your idea that MS product costs will rocket beyond their present levels is flawed. 2005-05-09 10:31 pm Viruses, spyware, trojan horses, backdoors, DLL hell, instability, BSOD, etc. etc. Longhorn doesn’t solve any of those problems. Our entire company got brand new Linux desktops. No problems anymore and everyone love it. Even our suppliers are switching to Linux. That’s what Microsoft’s future looks like. 2005-05-09 11:32 pm If I remember correctly, Microsoft has enough funds to go almost five years with zero sales, without cutting costs that is. It’ll take one hellova turnover in industry to fight that kind of power. Also, I remember seeing first articles like this in the early 90’s. 2005-05-09 11:33 pm Well since no one has a magic crystal ball there is nothing anyone can predict. Longhorn could be a runaway success leaving other OSes in the dust or Longhorn could blow so much that MS falls apart. What will happen remains to be seen. In the meantime I am gonna use what is more comfortable for me good or bad…but what works for me. 2005-05-09 11:36 pm Linux blowhards have been predicting the death of BSD and Microsoft for years now… 5 years down the road… we will still be reading the same… 10 years down the road… we will probably be reading the same thing… perhaps instead of Microsoft.. it might be MicroAppleSoft… 2005-05-09 11:45 pm “BBC saying that Microsoft’s days are “numbered” is irrelevant. I don’t think they even said that. Having the BBC “embrace” open source means zilch.” Really? One city today, a large corporation tomorrow, a country the next day…? How should it (Microsoft demise) happen in your opinion? Oh wait a moment, in your mind it is never going to happen… And to think that even the greatest empires (the Roman, the British) ended one day… 2005-05-10 12:15 am OK here is the mission if you choose to accept it. Linux and BSD you spawn camp them on their own native hardware. Apple you’ll rush from the side entrance and AWP their GUIs and keep them from planting the bomb. 2005-05-10 12:36 am haha same old discussion day in and day out, but its fun reading this “comments”. Just use what your comfortable with, nobody knows how Longhorn is gonna perform technology or economically. I use xp for my java development and am happy with it, basically because its a pirated version, and guess what I can auto-update and I can slipstream sp2 with it. Its all in the way you use ur noggin’. if you use linux well more power to yah, cuz for me i cant get any job done with linux, but thats just me. 2005-05-10 1:26 am I really don’t understand why people continue to degrade and belittle the huge efforts of one of the most beneficial companies/products of all time because of their own inability to properly administer their machines. Microsoft is the largest target BY FAR of discruntled losers with too much time on their hands. Spywre, Trojans, viruses, etc are written for the platform where they can do the most damage. Why is it I have only had ONE virus on my personal PC’s in 20 years? It is just way too dismissive to blame YOUR inability to properly admin your PC using Windows onto Microsoft itself. Just like a poster mentioned above he has had only one little outbreak in all his time with Windows and it was quickly contained. I have same experiences with my clients. NO amount of lockdown while keeping functionality for computer dumb-ass types can or will protect them. Locking a computer down won’t help when you insist on clicking on the Nude Brittany pics that come in your email from a stranger, or accepting the install window that pops up while browsing porn at work. Even with Anti-virus and anti-Spyware as those are still not 100% reliable and never can be. Hopefully hardware executable locking that is still in its early stages will eventually take off. The current way of doing things to protect from the nasties is just one big giant vacuum suck of money for anti-virus and spyware sellers. From my experience they all SUCK and are hardly worth the CD’s they are printed on. I have seen infections occur with both Trend and Norton even with daily updates of the DAT files. And one more thing. Microsoft isn’t going ANYWHERE because of the current ‘threats’ of consumer/PC unix, namely Linux. I fail to understand how ANYONE with any sort of logic can suggest that a Command Line oriented OS derived in the 70’s for Mainframes can be become the next modern/pioneering platform. (and don’t get me started with the completely bungled but hidden from users OSX Joke). Non-standards everywhere with bickering of which desktop is best but none of which work together and run on Client/Server crap called “X”. The ONLY thing that would knock MS into a Tech Museum would be a huge Paradigm shift in the way computers are thought of today. And even then it might still not be enough since I am sure they would adjust and evolve as well. I LOVE Microsoft Windows! Each release has become my Favorite OS. 2005-05-10 1:44 am Thank you for that fine piece of satire ! 2005-05-10 2:50 am There is a ton of cr@p out there for windows, but users have a personal responsibility to keep their system well protected. If you have not invested in good virus protection, if you have not installed antispyware software, if you dont have a firewall running, and if you don’t have things update often (or even better autoupdate) – then you are asking for it -just like some of my friends that spend most of their time playing games rather than keeping an eye out for the nasties” ARE YOU SERIOUS? DO YOU REALLY WANT TO SPEND LIFETIME KEEPING CRAPWARE AWAY FROM MICROC@AP RUNNING ON YOUR MACHINES? MICROSOFT WASTED MY TIME MORE THAN ENYTHING ELSE? Anyway, you just prooved why BBC claims “MS days are numbered” !!! 2005-05-10 3:58 am The comments so far have mostly been in two categories, a) Microsoft will explode and die a horrible apocalyptic death or b) they will dominate until the actual Apocalypse. Both of these statements are extremes and do little in predicting the fate of Microsoft. While none of us can truly see into the future what can be acknowledged now is that the Windows OS has a quite a bit of trouble. Today it faces continuous spyware/malware assaults, vast armies of security researchers finding new vulns that need addressing, growing competition from Apple/BSD/Linux/other and the fact that one can’t own 100% of the market 100% of the time because its just human nature to get bored of the same thing. So in the mean time I will let time educate me on what will become of our friends in Redmond. 2005-05-10 8:10 am @ youlle….my grasp of economics is better than you think. my point was that microsoft was not going to inflate prices artificially whenever more users switch. it was that in order for microsoft to earn the same amount as it is at the minute, it will have to increase income from somewhere…. and when the pool is getting smaller !! it had nothing to do with supply and demand @sanctus… exactly, portability is the way forward from here. I use Linux…. but the most important thing is the DATA on my pc that I create. I honestly do not care if it is Linux, BSD, Beos or even a Mac emulator that helps me get at it……. btw, I do not trust my data on a windows machine…. they all seem as if they are about to fall over at any second. @lumbergh I do not blindly defend linux… I will defend it… but not blindly. Linux has its shortcomings… I am using Gnome on this box.. but it just seems too gay… I prefer KDE.. but everyone goes on about choice, I want 1 UI that I am totally happy with, all the time. KDE on this box runs too slow, but gnome runs very fast ? But it is a box for work to get done on, not for me to tinker with. @everyone else… loads of people here moan about fonts looking like crap on linux, can I just ask them 1 question ? WTF are you on ? Linux will use exactly the same fonts as Windows or MacOS if you want it to. Just select the fonts in question. Even Tahoma, which is a MS only font is free to download from MS. I honestly think that people who have used Windows for a few years think they are “experts”, then sit them down in front of a Linux machines and they get SCARED.. then the negative comments come out, Linux is crap, Linux cant do this, Linux cant do that, Linux looks horrible etc etc etc It is not that Linux us any of the above, it is just that this “expert” could not be seen to be stupid in front of their peers… either that, or they are too lazy to try another way. 2005-05-10 12:09 pm Despite what people think, the biggest market for computers isn’t the technical folks like most are, or try to be, on this website. It’s families, old people, kids, gamers and otherwise regular people. Linux will never penetrate the market when Windows makes things easy to use for the masses. While config files and and compiling software from source while searching the internet with your “Links” command line browser are good for you, there is a world outside of you. People want a pretty OS with IE, Media player, automatic updates and AOL, that’s just the way it is believe it or not. Linux can’t get into the gaming market because not enough people have linux to warrant gaming companies to develop games. Don’t throw the Wine crap either because it doesn’t work right all of the time anyway. Most older folks have enough problems with a GUI, let alone typing in commands, so Linux is a no go for them. It’s also hard to find supported software for Linux. Please note I said supported software, as in real paid tech support, not some forum filled with snobby acne ridden Linux zealots looking to flame anyone that has an easy question. While Linux may have some great features, it’s not the OS of choice for the mass consumer. It’s share in the server market is high, and will be for years to come. There are many companies that create enterprise level apps for Windows only. While some are starting to port apps to Linux (usually Redhat only) it’s still not big enough to make a noise. I like Linux, I like FreeBSD/OpenBSD better, but they have their place. When your sucessful, and Microsoft is let’s face it, people love to predict your downfall. People hate who ever is on top regardless of who it is. When you’re number one you will get a lot of naysayers and most aren’t going to be correct anyhow. 2005-05-10 12:56 pm “I really don’t understand why people continue to degrade and belittle the huge efforts of one of the most beneficial companies/products of all time because of their own inability to properly administer their machines.” Precisely. It’s kind of like my ride. The thing has a problem with the brakes — you just have to break a little sooner and all is fine. My buddies keep telling me it’s a piece of junk though. Very annoying. They just don’t know how to properly drive a car 2005-05-10 1:33 pm “Microsoft is the largest target BY FAR of discruntled losers with too much time on their hands.” Your talking about some Windows users and kids. 2005-05-10 2:45 pm does it all really matter? no. I use windows 2k/xp and never have any spyware/virus problems.. at all. rock stable.. I also use linux and have no stability issues, and beos, and mac os, and os/2 etc etc.. If you don’t know how to properly admin an OS you are going to have problems no matter WHAT os it is. Just bitching about Windows problems when you obviously have no clue on how to admin it. 2005-05-10 6:18 pm Microsoft will never regain the dominance it had. 🙂 Microsoft can never beat Linux. Apple and Amiga are next to rise–two Capricorn companies (with machines first released as fire signs–Apple’s, Aries; Amiga’s, Leo). They receive the torch of Scorpionic Pluto. Microsoft may have its hooks in Apple, I don’t know. The company did invest(?) $150-million into Apple once, right. I wonder if it has stock still. The old: http://www.microsoft.com The new: http://www.apple.com and http://www.amiga.com It’s gonna be like Pepsi vs. Coca-Cola. –EyeAm 2005-05-10 6:57 pm Several friends of mine already have Linux installed along Windows on their computers, they use Windows for tasks where Linux cannot offer them a solution they can live with (which is 3rd party windows only software and games mostly). The reason why most companies are not switching to Linux that fast is, that they are locked in by visual basic excel and access scripts which handle their business. They don’t switch as long as they don’t have to. Microsoft might be forced to change their business methods some day, and I think they might try to make their own Linux distro then, throwing off lots of development cost for an operating system (as IBM is doing right now). This will only happen, of course, when the desktop market is dominated by Linux in a way that being Linux-incompatible would mean certain death to a company. 2005-05-10 7:17 pm “Linux has its shortcomings… I am using Gnome on this box.. but it just seems too gay… I prefer KDE.. ” What the heck does that mean? Gnome is a purple teletubbie? Is it Sponge Bob? Are Bert and Ernie the help icons? Ya know, if your desktop is pink, you can always change the theme. Still can’t figure out how an inanimant object can be “gay”. 2005-05-10 7:37 pm Microsoft may well go on for ever — though history of other industry startup monopoly firms strongly suggests that Microsoft will not be able to hold more than a small fraction of its present market share. This is fine by me — I do not use Windows on my personal computer and my work computer is dual boot. Once Windows market share is down below 50% (again, history strongly suggest this will happen) many of their practices will not be harmful to the market even if they still proceed with them. Second point. I use Suse (now 9.3) for my preferred OS and have placed it and 9.2 on many many computers. While I use the command prompt on occasion – I cannot think of a time in the last 6 months that it was not just a matter of convenience for me. In fact most of the others I have set up on Suse have never used the command prompt. My brother does not even know its exists let alone how to get to it and yes he is doing a fair amount of his own system maintenance. Fact is KDE on Suse is easy to install – and maintain through the GUI and if you stick to well supported GPL and commercial software for Linux the programs are nearly always easy to install now days. (true if you are trying to install bata or some small time project software you had best be ready to get down and dirty with the OS). None of the people I have set up on Linux have switched back to Windows many of who have had to use Windows on some public or friends machine or the like have report back to me that they found XP ugly and/or hard to use. At 54 I find the thin profile of Windows default fonts to be harder to read than the Bitstream fonts now used as sandard on Suse. My wife who last year insisted that we have a dual boot machine so that she could use her beloved XP has not booted into XP in the last two months but chooses to use her log into “my” Suse. I have played with Linspire some and found it to be even more dudded down for Joe Blow Average than Suse. I have also played with other Distros that realy do require a more geekie person to use them. It is this difference between the many distros of Linux that may well in the end win the day for Linux on the desktop. I drive a 30 year old Ford truck – do you? I find that old truck just right for my needs – Would you? Remember that at one time the Ford Modle “T” sold at near monopoly status. What will come in the computer market will be many different OS solutions (yes, even “OS free” computing equipment) because we are not all made the same or want the same thing. 2005-05-11 7:27 am I am writing this from the SLAX live cd distro running in memory…………..I have Xandros 2.5biz on my system dual booting with XP (which will soon be trashed and replaced with the best M$ ever made 2000). I use them all for diffrent reasons. Bottom line, I have been able to USE the linux desktop for about 1 1/2 now to get things done. A year or 2 down the road who knows? But M$ will go down in market share, its a givin. 2005-05-12 8:06 pm While I agree with you that securing your machine is your own responsability I also understand that all the computer users are not all computer technicians or geekies. I know some people that are not interested in porn sites and that do not play a lot. A few of them have been infected by viruses. Nearly ALL of them have been infected by malwares and spywares and sometimes, a lot of them. I showed them how to use spybot or other software and they now can have a much cleaner computer. But there are some software that are not removed and you never know if you can trust totally all the programs installed on their computers. I once had Windows 98 on my old computer a long time ago and one day I had enough of running into problems just by starting up my computer (e.g.: “Your registry is corrupted, Windows need to be restarted”) and I had enough to reboot every single time I was doing a little change of my computer. Then I did a backup of all my essential data. Then I wiped out my Windows install, and installed an old version of Red Hat (I am not sure if it was 5.1 or 6) that came with a book on Linux I bought by curiosity (and to try as a replacement for my existing OS). I did not like much the GUI of KDE at that time and I had some difficulty to adapt in the firsts weeks but I was excited to see my system so stable and I never wanted to go back. Since then I got a newer computer that came with Windows XP and I decided to keep it, just because I use from time to time a software on the Windows side that has no Linux equivalent YET. But I use Linux about 90 % of the time if not more than this. Am I a Linux or open-source fanboy ? Not at all. I just like my tools to respond to my needs and to be stable. I just do not get it when someone feels obligated to take the protection of a big, almost monopolistic corporation. You like Windows ? Right ! So why do you have to defend Bill Gates against an innocent penguin ? You do not know the power behind the command line if you do not take the time to learn the possibilities. Often, command line is the best for a simple task and even for some complicated batch tasks. And you do not need to access the command line if you do not want to take the time to learn it.