Linux Strategies for Winning the Market
On Jan 3, 5:06 pm, The Ghost In The Machine
> In comp.os.linux.advocacy, Sinister Midget
> on Thu, 3 Jan 2008 15:12:54 -0600
> > MS seems to be past it's heyday, too. Rigor mortis just needs a little
> > more time to become so evident that even the armchair medical experts
> > (tech press, Windummies, DuFuses, Quooks, Timmies, etc) won't be able
> > to deny the state of its death.[/color][/color]
> The reports of MSFT's demise are greatly exaggerated,
> presumably. After all, we're talking a corporation that is
> making over $54B of revenue and $14.88B of income a year,
> with no debt and 23.3% quarterly year-on-year earnings growth.[/color]
Don't forget that $25 billion in cash and short term investments.
They also have a $4 billion advertising budget that buys a lot of good
press. In addition, they use their control over trademarks very
aggressively to control almost $20 billion in OEM advertizing budgets.
Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer own a huge percentage of the company, and
only if State Street and Vanguard agreed together that Bill or Steve
should go, could they be fired, which means that ever if they commit
criminal acts and admit them in court, they are pretty pretty much
immune. Microsoft spends nearly $1 billion in legal fees and $2
billion in settlements each year, most of which goes to settlements of
lawsuits involving criminal activities such as fraud, extortion,
sabotage, blackmail, obstruction of justice, and collusion.
Microsoft could probably continue to pump $5 billion/year into funding
it's revenue stream for a few more years if they think it will help
them retain their monopoly control over the market.
> This is not to say Windows is any good from a technical
> standpoint; it's pure crap.[/color]
Windows has always been technically inferior to competitors, including
Mac, OS/2, Solaris, UnixWare, and Linux. On the other hand, it's
"good enough" to maintain their monopoly control, when they can strong-
arm OEMs into excluding competitors by making it too expensive not to
do so. It's "good enough" when they can get CIOs to force every
employee to use Windows, often to the exclusion of all others, by
threatening these CIOs with license audits, including CALs for servers
and other expensive audits.
> However, it's highly
> profitable crap...and I for one have no idea how we'd
> unseat this monster,[/color]
Go through my postings in the COLA newsgroups, and my links and
archives at Open4Success. There is a strategy, it is being
implemented, and it is working.
Linux is doing the right things right. They have worked to make it as
easy as possible for Windows users to take Linux for a "test drive"
without having to wipe out Windows. This has gotten progressively
easier each year. In 1993, you had to repartition your hard drive,
install Linux in the new partition, and boot either Linux or Windows.
Today, Windows users can boot into Linux using a Live-DVD and a "thumb
drive". They can also install VMWare Player and a Linux "Appliance"
and have a LInux desktop running in a few minutes with no installation
effort. Magazines like PC world are even offering the Linux
appliances on DVD now.
Linux then makes it possible to run Windows applications from Linux.
They can use WINE, or desktop virtualization to run Windows from
Linux. This makes it easier for Windows users to make the transition
from Windows as the primary desktop OS to Linux as the primary desktop
OS, yet they can still have all the capabilities of Windows as well.
Linux provides as much driver support as possible, and lets customers
and OEMs alike know what devices, such as DirectX/10 will NOT be
supported by Linux. They also make it easy to use those Live-CDs or
Live-DVDs to boot Linux on a machine they might purchase (or purchase
in quantity), and determine immediately whether it will run Linux or
Linux Distributors work with OEMs to formulate public announcements as
to which of their products are "Linux Ready". In some cases, the OEMs
even announce that Linux is "available" for that line of PCs. This
allows them to monitor the sales of Linux hostile vs Linux Ready
systems and adjust prices appropriately. When they start to see that
"Linux Ready" PCs are more profitable than "Window Only" PCs, more
computers will become Linux ready.
Linux encourages distributors to maintain their diversity, while
maintaining a common standard framework (LSB). This will allow OEMs
to create a wider range of offerings from $100 kiddie laptops to
$3,000 power-user laptops.
In additon, Linux opens up new markets that were "under the radar" to
Microsoft. Linux distributors worked with companies like Dell, HP,
IBM/Lenovo, and others, helping them ship lease-return laptops too old
to run modern versions of Windows and Office, to 3rd world countries,
or give them to extremely low-income families, where they could be
quickly, cheaply, and easily loaded with legal Linux licenses, and
given to these most needy users.
These users then had the chance to learn how computers actually work,
rather than just how to play video games. The result being that they
became more motivated to study science, math, English (primary
language of the Internet), and communication skills, including social
sciences, art, music, and literature. This better trains them to
learn about business, engineering, politics, and economics. Their
close ties to extremely poor communities enables them to lift up other
members of those communities, creating a whole new market for PCs in
> especially if Bill Gates sees a
> threat to his business and runs to someone like George
> Bush for protection.[/color]
It's ironical that George Bush's "protection" may have actually done
more harm than good. The court case illuminated Microsoft's RICO-like
practices, their strong-arm tactics, and their illegal activities, and
ties them directly to the highest ranking executives at Microsoft.
The lack of enforcement of the settlement has led the industry, and
regulators in other countries to become much more determined to break
the Microsoft Monopoly, without setting up a new monopolist. This is
one of the reasons that the OEMs are so interested in Linux rather
than SCO Unix or Solaris.
The case has also made Microsoft's competitors, past, present, and
future, much more determined to break the monopoly as well, and adopt
a more "open" technology framework. Apple adopted BSD Unix, and
showed the world that UNIX could be made user friendly, then put those
user friendly UNIX systems on retailer shelves. From there, UNIX
powered Macs have been showing up everywhere, especially places like
Starbucks, Airports, and other places where executives want a
reliable, secure, and useful system they can take on the road and to
> The good news: Microsoft has proven itself quite proficient
> at shooting itself in the foot.[/color]
Microsoft has "bet the farm" several times, and lost. They lost with
Windows NT 3.1 and 3.5. They spent $billions developing it, and had
to spend $billions more to come up with Windows 95 before the market
started a mass migration to Linux.
They lost with Windows ME. They tried to come up with a "Linux-proof"
operating system that would lock out competitors by requiring hardware
with drivers that only Microsoft could license, they tried to extend
the Windows 9x franchise into the 21st century. And it backfired.
From 1998 to 2001, Linux became much more popular, and PC buyers hated
ME so much that they often demanded refunds for their PCs, or even
paid as much as $100 per machine to "downgrade" to Windows 98.
They almost lost with XP. When Microsoft tried to "force feed" XP
into the corporate market, many corporations issued directives for
CIOs and CTOs to formulate plans that would allow the corporation to
stop paying Microsoft, even if it meant switching to Linux.
And it looks like they lost with Vista. In this case, OEMs paid as
much as 50% more to upgrade Vista computers to XP, and many companies
have pretty much told Microsoft that if they try to drop support for
XP, they will start putting Linux on Retail shelves. Many
corporations have not just delayed adoption of Vista, they have banned
Vista completely. Many have stated that they have no plans to upgrade
to Vista, which would indicate that if Microsoft attempts to shut down
XP, they will be ready to switch to Linux or Unix.
> The bad news: it has a lot of feet and no one seems to
> even notice or care, except for this bunch here in COLA
> and an occasional freeware blogger.[/color]
It's more like the Linux mascot, the Penguin. Remember, Emporer
Penguins lay and hatch their eggs and raise their young in the most
hostile part of the planet, to protect them from predators. They wait
until the ice melts, and by the time their young have lost their down,
they are ready to go into the sea as some of the fastest swimmers in
the world. Emporor Penguins, even young ones, "fly" through the water
at almost 45 miles per hour. These birds then spend 5 years in the
water, getting really really fat, before they make the 75 mile trek
Linux is similar. Linux was developed and evolved as open source
software, free of the economic pressures, limitations, and budgetary
restrictions that limit the development of commercial applications.
Thousands of applications were generated, and encouraged to compete
with each other by the distributors, who included everything they
could in their distribution media.
Linux, and the OSS applications then infiltrated the marketplace
covertly. Linux distributors didn't promote many specific
applications, but instead encouraged users to compare and choose for
themselves. Linux was distributed freely, and the revenue came from
those who wanted support. To be profitable, the distributors had to
test, patch, and contribute to the OSS to keep their costs down, while
still providing valuable upgrades, documentation, and configuration
support, which created their revenue streams.
Linux users were often the first to use high speed internet, because
they wanted the ability to download these upgrades and distributions
as quickly as possible. Downloading 2 gigabytes worth of updates over
a 28 Kb/sec dial-up connection just wasn't going to cut it.
Linux distributors were very creative at using new distribution
channels. Getting a software product onto retailer shelves had
reached the point where a minimum of $10 million was required just to
get one cardboard box out to one national franchise. The Linux
distributors found other ways to get their product distributed.
They offered downloads, and packaged the downloads so that it was easy
and convenient to download a very robust distribution quickly, and it
could be installed easily. This also created more demand for high
They utilized CD-ROM burners, encouraging users to burn freely
distributable CD-ROMs and give them to 30-40 of their closest
friends. Many distributors even encouraged their customers to throw
"Install Parties" helping new Linux users get their systems installed.
They utilized USB drives and Flash memory, which allowed them to
quickly distribute their goods to lots of new customers.
They used Live-CDs and Live-DVDs, in combination with the USB drives.
This allowed Linux distributors to boot from a CD or DVD, but use the
external drive or flash drive for personal files and configuration
Rather than have the OEMs create special machines exclusively for
Linux, the Linux community created drivers for every device they could
get specs on. In many cases, it was difficult to get secret codes
such as USB and PCI device and vendor codes, but when Microsoft double-
crossed it's own "partners", they often voided contracts that included
nondisclosure agreements. In other cases, the community was able to
probe, catalog, and document these codes.
The result is that more and more PC models became "Linux Ready" and
Linux was installed by USERS rather than OEMs. In essence, Linux was
like the little penguins swimming under water at blazing speeds, but
mostly not visable to the usual predators.
Even when Linux was adopted by the OEMs, it was mostly "below the
radar". The server market grew at radical rates, and today, it's
nearly impossible to use a PC on the internet without accessing at
least a few Linux or UNIX servers each access. This gave Linux a
chance to establish a very solid reputation with corporate IT
managers, and eventually even the CEO and COO. Even the non-geeks
liked the fact that Linux was easy to get, scaled well, and integrated
well with their other corporate servers. At the same time, Linux
established a reputation in large corporations of being reliable,
secure, efficient, easy to manage and maintain, performing well, and
in general having very low Total Cost of Ownership and very high
Return On Investment. With all of these satisfied customers, even
Microsoft's "Fast Facts" or "Fast with the Facts" benchmarks and
studies weren't having an impact. IT managers didn't need benchmarks
and surveys, they could look at their own budgets and service records.
Linux also became very popular with smaller OEMs who produced Linux
"Appliances". Companies like D-Link, LinkSys, NetGear, Nokia, Belkin,
started creating Linux powered routers, hubs, firewalls, WiFi hubs,
printer hubs, and storage controllers. Even though they didn't have
the little penguin on the box, the industry was aware that these were
Linux boxes, and the consumers were buying.
Soon, Linux and Unix were being integrated into new consumer products
including DVRs, HDTV tuners, HDTV TVs, Digital cable tuners, Digital
Satellite devices, DVD players, and even VCRs.
A nice side effect of the success of Linux is that Open Source
Software became more widely accepted and trusted. Mozilla, FireFox,
Gaim, Pidgin, Open Office, and numerous other Open Source applications
have been ported to Windows, usually by using Red Hat's cygwin
compatibility library (lets Windows users run Linux OSS apps) and
platform independent Java.
Of course, these new OSS apps are establishing open industry-wide
standards and many companies who have gravitated to industry wide
standards, such as those that made the Internet a universial medium
for business. New standards such as Open Document Format are becoming
popular largely as a result of the success of Linux, OSS, and Internet
> Viruses? No problem; just buy AV software.[/color]
Not exactly. Keep in mind that globally, businesses lose as much as
$300 billion per year in primary and secondary damages related to
viruses. Antivirus software and AntiSpyware software actually catches
the malware AFTER it has been pulled in. But when you do a little
root cause analysis, it turns out that most of these malware programs
are pulled in by ActiveX controls, MicroViruses, and embedded OLE
objects embedded in MS-Office attachments. A company will spend
$millions, even $billions setting up firewalls, antivirus,
antispyware, spam filters, other security measures, only to have the
entire security system breached by someone who uses Outlook e-mail to
preview an e-mail file that contains embedded HTML which contains
embedded ActiveScript which pulls in ActiveX controls or Attachments
with embedded malware OLEs, and suddenly you have a highly secured
workstation sending out confidential company information via e-mail,
smtp, or http.
Microsoft keeps promising better security, but they absolutely refuse
to give up their back-doors. Vista was supposed to be totally
secure. Instead, Vista has turned into a Nightmere.
> Deficiencies? No problem; get some shareware.[/color]
IT managers are getting much more touchy about shareware. It seems
that most of the copyright violations found by watchdogs like BSA -
are unregistered shareware. All it takes is 10-20 people downloading
WinZip and not paying the registration fee within the 30 day time
limit to leave yourself open to the choice of 20 years in federal
prison, or signing a BSA settlement, and a blanket agreement with
Microsoft that covers everything they publish. In essence, it's
blackmail. The CIO is being threatened with prison for the acts of
the company's employees.
Open Source, on the other hand, with Licenses that explicitly state
that the software can be downloaded and used, and can be freely
distributed, often gets loaded into a corporate archive, so that
employees can load it directly. The corporation then usually makes a
donation to the organization that supports the sharware, or gets a
support contract from a company who will forward a portion of that to
the OSS supporters.
Many companies are also doing "give-back" by allowing, even
encouraging, their employees to submit and support shareware. They
are encouraged to do it as individuals, to avoid liability for the
company, and they are warned not to pirate someone else's software and
submit it as OSS, but they are often rewarded for their "Give-Back" or
> Sluggish machine? No problem; get a new
> one with a more "modern" OS such as Vista.[/color]
Appearantly that isn't working so well. If you buy a bigger machine,
with 4 times the RAM, that's 4 times faster, and has 4 times the drive
capacity, Vista will end up being SLOWER than XP on the older machine.
If you get a DirectX-10 card, you might get some nifty graphics, but
it won't be faster than XP. Vista won't be more secure than XP with
3rd party security software from McAffee or Symantic. Vista won't be
more reliable than XP, and third party software will probably NOT run
as well on Vista.
Perhaps this is why so many PCs, even when they are displayed on the
retail shelves with Vista Home Premium, are being purchased with
Windows XP. Perhaps this is why so many machines displayed with
Vista, use cards that DON'T support DirectX-10, but use cards that
support OpenGL instead.
Even the game writers have opted to use wrapper libraries that convert
OpenGL calls to DirectX calls on XP, than write custom applications
written directly to DirectX. In many cases, if the Video card
supports OpenGL natively, the game can bypass the wrappers and go
directly to the card driver via the OpenGL library.
> Isn't setting people's expectations wonderful?[/color]
The problem is that there is nothing that will make a mob turn ugly
faster than unfulfilled expectations. If you promise them bread and
give them gruel, they will behead you.
> Oh, don't forget to
> register your copy of Vista, citizen; it's for your own good.[/color]
How many fingers do you see on my hand? Four? Bzzzzt.
Now that you have finished screaming, try again. Five? Bzzzt
That's correct, but that's not what you actually see is it? IT's only
what you think I want to hear.
Orwell's 1984. I particularly liked the movie. Richard Burton was so
good as the thought police.
> As for the C-64...I played with it for 5 minutes or so once.[/color]
My dad had one. Of course, by then, I was programming for CP/M, and
shortly after that I was using UNIX. C-64 looked SO Primative in
comparison. When I finally got a PC with MS-DOS, all I wanted to do
is switch it to UNIX somehow. Unfortunately I had to wait almost 10
years to convert a PC to UNIX.
When Windows 3.0 came out, I was using a Sun SparcStation as my
primary workstation. Windows was stone-age compared to SunOS 4.0. In
fact, even Windows XP doesn't have many of my favorite features of
SunOS 4.0. And by the time I got to Slackware 2.0, I liked it better
> I can't say it was that impressive except that
> it was instantly on, ready to go from the moment one hits
> the power switch. (The same could be said for many other
> machines -- the TRS80 and the Apple ][ also come to mind.[/color]
It was ready if you didn't have a floppy drive. If you had a floppy,
it took a while for it to get up to speed.
> The Amiga didn't quite make it but was very close.)[/color]
I liked the Amiga, and the Atari ST. Both were great computers, but
didn't have memory management units, so they couldn't run UNIX or OS/9
68K. The DRI/GEM system was very nice, but the resolution was still
very low for a windowed system (it was better than MS-DOS, but still
only 640x480 in Color. It had a black and white 1024x768 mode, but it
was interlaced at 70hz and many people disliked the jitter that came
from the interlace.
DRI released GEM for MS-DOS at the same time, and Microsoft freaked.
They were still trying to get the bugs out of Windows 1.0, and here
was GEM, fully operational, and could run on top of either MS-DOS or
DR-DOS. I think DR-DOS even had real multitasking by then.
> ASUS finally has partially replicated that experience for
> the masses, allowing a browser within 5 seconds or so on
> the P5E3, as I understand it.[/color]
You get a "hot" display in just a few seconds, but at least the OLPC
still seems to take a few seconds to load applications from the flash
into the RAM. Still, both Linux and Windows have good "sleep" modes,
which makes it much easier to "fire-up" without having to go through a
lengthy reboot process. The difference is that Linux actually LIKES
to go weeks between reboots. Windows still has memory leaks, file
lock-outs, and other issues that make it almost mandatory to reboot
your PC every 2-3 days. I was surprised when I got a warning because
I hadn't rebooted Windows in 48 hours.
> Presumably Microsoft is still working on it. We'll see
> this "innovation" maybe a few years from now.[/color]
I think they said that was supposed to be in Vista. They were also
working on getting it into the PDA operating system. They are
supposedly working on some sort of OLPC type operating system as
well. The problem is that they can't come up with an operating system
that will only need 4 gig of flash storage, including all applications
and personal data.
> Never mind that Linux already has it, as a proof of concept.[/color]
Linux can boot from USB flash drives or SD-RAM drives if you have them
and your computer supports booting from them. Since there is no
latentcy and access times can be as fast as 20 megabytes/second
sustained rate on Linux, (as opposed to 40 MB/sec burst 300 KB/sec
sustained rate for Windows on a 5400 RPM IDE drive).
> #191, ewi...@earthlink.net[/color]
Re: Linux Strategies for Winning the Market
* Rex Ballard fired off this tart reply:
> Go through my postings in the COLA newsgroups, and my links and
> archives at Open4Success. There is a strategy, it is being
> implemented, and it is working.[/color]
It's not working until you hear it in the news.
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