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Microsoft Linux Debate Grows
Company's Embrace of Linux Can be Read Two Ways

Microsoft featured a hands-on Linux demo at its recent partner conference in Minneapolis. This showed that the company is either less afraid of Linux and now willing to embrace it, or more hostile to Linux than ever and therefore willing to embrace it. Now the debate has been extended to Office.


OSDL leader Stuart Cohen recently remarked at a technology conference that he "would not be surprised to see Microsoft participate in software that runs on top of Linux in the future." He even mentioned the dread word proprietary in a positive light.  "There is an opportunity for a tremendous amount of software, mostly proprietary but some open source, to be developed on Linux. Proprietary continues to grow and grow rapidly," he said.


Stuart Cohen

Cohen's remarks imply that he would be fine with a Microsoft Office on Linux, for example. In this scenario, Microsoft simply serves a market demand but doesn't try to maintain its traditional role as leading OS provider and sole significant application provider on that OS. One commentator wrote, regarding Cohen's speech, that "It now seems obvious that open source poses less of a threat to Microsoft's core business than some of its antagonists, and even some of its proponents, previously thought."

Perhaps. Certainly Linux, as a modern-day ancestor of UNIX, has posed more of a threat to UNIX-flavored systems, especially those from Sun, another company that has been Linux-hostile. Yet, Linux competes directly with Microsoft NT for the lower (and increasingly, middle) range of the server market, and both operating systems have done tremendous damage to former server leaders Sun, HP, and IBM.

Yet Linux is more than just an operating system. Its founder and its logo are iconic representations of a mindset that is anti-Microsoft, anti-proprietary, and dead set against business practices that aim to create leverage over developers and users. Will the two camps converge? Is Microsoft really trying to be Linux-friendly, or is it simply trying to make Linux its own? If so, will enough apolitical end-users show up in the market before this happens to justify the creation of separate product lines to serve them?
 


About Linux News Desk
SYS-CON's Linux News Desk gathers stories, analysis, and information from around the Linux world and synthesizes them into an easy to digest format for IT/IS managers and other business decision-makers.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

You were looking for the word "descendant", and you used the opposite word, "ancestor". Next time, get out your dictionary, and check.

Warren Postma

(To set the record straight)

UNIX was a commercial system which Linus Torvalds cloned (hence the name Linux).

Not the other way around.

I liked your article. But the phrase "Linux, as a modern-day ancestor of UNIX" throws me. Isn't UNIX the ancestor of Linux?

I am a linux user and admin.I would only think
microsoft would dev. software for linux only
because of dropping sales for software.But really,
micro. would not gain any advantage for this move
,say who would want to pay large user software
fees when opensource programs are just as good and free.I do use windows only for gaming support.
There is a large and ever growing all age gaming
community that would in my opinion embrace linux
if popular titles were ported to linux.I would not want to see micro. dev. anything for linux.Linux
has been and should be kept away from big corp. as these.

Microsoft featured a hands-on Linux demo at its recent partner conference in Minneapolis. This showed that the company is either less afraid of Linux and now willing to embrace it, or more hostile to Linux than ever and therefore willing to embrace it. Now the debate has been extended to Office.




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