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Ask Microsoft's Martin Taylor About Linux vs. Windows 1069

Martin Taylor is Microsoft's global general manager of platform strategy, but he's best-known as the man the company trots out to refute claims of Linux superiority. Here are links to several interviews he's done in the past two years:; CMP; Computerworld; and one on Microsoft's own site. As usual, please submit one question per post. We'll present 10 - 12 of the highest-moderated questions to Mr. Taylor about 24 hours after this post appears, and we expect to publish his answers within the next week.
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Ask Microsoft's Martin Taylor About Linux vs. Windows

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  • Interoperability (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wdd1040 ( 640641 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:02PM (#11619210)
    Is Microsoft hoping to incorporated any interoperability for using Linux-based binaries? IE, an embeded version of Cygwin for instance.
  • Quality (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nagora ( 177841 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:03PM (#11619231)
    If Microsoft is so much better why does IE still not support semi-transparent PNGs or CSS fixed positioning while every other browser has done both for literally years? Is it because you don't care or because you can't actually get it to work?


    • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by suso ( 153703 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:21PM (#11619509) Homepage Journal
      Wow, was that a loaded question or what. The two potential answers that you gave him are both bad. You're right, there is really no excuse, IE should have supported or renounced these things a long time ago.
    • by Lead Butthead ( 321013 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:43PM (#11619885) Journal
      The answer to your question is rather apparent; it's obviously because they're pushing their own "extension" and is not in their interest to support the "standard."
    • Re:Quality (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SiChemist ( 575005 )
      I wish I had mod points for you. Unfortunately, I spent them frivolously earlier today :-(

      What is Microsoft's problem with fully supporting open standards? I mean, it's not like they have a really usable alternative to semi-transparent PNGs so why not just follow the standard?

      Every time I think about how easy it would be to improve web sites with transparency I get worked up all over again.
    • by Henk Poley ( 308046 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @02:39PM (#11620664) Homepage
      Why do we need 3rd party applications like Dirms []* to keep NTFS defragmented? Of course there is no silver bullet, but some on-the-fly defragmentation wouldn't be that difficult to build into the OS. Mac OS X does this too already.

      * Warning, ugly site, good program.
  • by Sensible Clod ( 771142 ) <dc-7 AT charter DOT net> on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:04PM (#11619233) Homepage
    how DO you say that stuff and keep a straight face?

    Botox, maybe?
    • Re:Seriously... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @02:32PM (#11620559) Journal
      Because for a LOT of cases, windows is a better choice.

      My question:
      due to the long and on-going development of Longhorn, do you believe that the new OS will have the features and enhancements to keep up with the rapid growth shown in Linux and Mac OSX during the last few years? In other words, do you think that the new features in Longhorn will be enough to keep people upgrading to the latest and newest windows even as the alternatives are constantly improving.
  • Which One? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dsginter ( 104154 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:05PM (#11619241)
    Which OSS desktop do you like best - Gnome or KDE?
  • by stu_coates ( 156061 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:05PM (#11619242)

    Notepad or Wordpad? ;-)

  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ratboy666 ( 104074 ) <fred_weigel@hotmail . c om> on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:05PM (#11619250) Journal
    Why are we asking him about anything? He should be asking /us/.

    On second thought, I do have some questions, which I can wrap into a single bundle:

    "Is Microsoft going to pursue a Palladium philosophy in the next 5 years? And, if this the strategy, what guarantees will Microsoft make that protect Free Speech?"

  • by greyfeld ( 521548 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:06PM (#11619257) Journal
    For what purposes? What was your personal experience with using Linux?
  • following (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TedCheshireAcad ( 311748 ) <ted&fc,rit,edu> on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:06PM (#11619263) Homepage
    Why do you think that Mac and Linux both have a militant following, but Microsoft does not? ( Or do they, but I just don't see them ? )
    • Re:following (Score:5, Insightful)

      by L.Bob.Rife ( 844620 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:37PM (#11619789)
      There are plenty of PHB's who are militant about MS products. They don't post on message boards and the like though. They stick to company memos and purchasing decisions.
      • Re:following (Score:5, Interesting)

        by FatherOfONe ( 515801 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @02:20PM (#11620411)
        I wish I could mod you up. There are a TON of MS only people out there. Heck just post a job and put one Microsoft product in the "like you to know" category and you will get a 100 resume's of MS ONLY people. The job could have 5 hard core non MS requirements and it won't make a difference. Then "if" you interview them just ask them what other technology they like besides Microsoft and why. You will probably get a puzzled look on their face.

        I honestly wish I had a dime for all the times I have seen Microsoft people start a holy war when you mention replacing one of their products with a non "Windows" option. I generally ask them the question above "What other products have you looked at or worked with?" I personally don't care who makes a product as long as it makes my life easier and lets me focus on the business, however I will say that I try and avoid companies that lock me in to their technology, so I find myself trying to avoid Microsoft in some ways...

        and as I have always said, Once free software is "Good Enough" then the proprietary software vendor is going to be dead. It is almost impossible to compete with free when free is "Good Enough". You can do it but you won't have 50Billion in the bank and have one of the highest profit margins in the world.

        Lastly, my question.
        At what point in marketshare would Linux need on the client before Microsoft would start porting their applications over to it?

        I ask this because it won't be long before the Linux client marketshare will be greater than the Macintosh...

  • Emerging Countries (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Adrilla ( 830520 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:06PM (#11619266) Homepage
    Explain why Windows would be a better OS for developing countries where they're trying to keep computer prices extremely low per machine.
  • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:06PM (#11619269) Homepage
    Regardless of the superiority of Linux to Windows, or vice-verse, it seems to me that the disruptive economic model of Linux cannot fail to displace Windows. As Microsoft itself has proven many time, you cannot compete with free. Do you see any hope for Microsoft?
    • by speedplane ( 552872 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:39PM (#11619823) Homepage
      People make a really big deal out of free. But if one product is better than the other -and I won't argue whether win. or linux is better- than why not pay for it. People pay more for a Porche than a Taurus because a Porche is better. If there was ever a car which was entirely free, people would still pay for the Porche.

      The argument shouldn't be: Linux is better because it is free. It should be: Microsoft's higher price is not enough to justify the additional features one gets from it. If someone paid you a hundred dollars to use an operating system and it was really bad, most people probably wouldn't use it. The price, whether it be $-100, $0, $100, or $1000 is meaningless. However weighing that price to the given feature set is what is important.

      Microsoft is completly capable of competing against Linux in the long term and writing them off as some ageing dinosaur is not accurate.

      No I dont work for MS, Yes I'm running Linux on my laptop, m6811 fedora core 3... hot
  • by CypherXero ( 798440 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:07PM (#11619271) Homepage

    Linux must be doing something right, if one of the largest software companies in the US is devoting money and energy to dismiss Linux. Why can't you be confident in your own product? If you were confident in Windows, you would let the Windows OS speak for itself. So are you making up for the failure of Windows by focusing attention on Linux?
    • Hi,

      You ARE aware that linux zealots are probably the noisiest faction in the IT world, right? You're also aware that a vast, vast majority of that noise is focused as an anti-Microsoft beam, right?

      So, as an obvious linux zealot yourself, why don't you answer the question? Why doesn't linux just speak for itself instead of relying upon a few thousand nasal whines?

  • Questions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abrotman ( 323016 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:07PM (#11619274)
    Why doesn't Microsoft incorporate other OSS software into Windows, such as say Firefox or some of the other software listed at

    Does Microsoft feel that Linux has any place at all in the IT industry? If so, where?

  • Paint me cynical (Score:3, Interesting)

    by savagedome ( 742194 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:07PM (#11619276)
    best-known as the man the company trots out to refute claims of Linux superiority

    This guys is there to refute the claims. I honestly do not expect him to say anything that we haven't heard before.

    I would still like to ask "How is using a proprietary .doc better than using .pdf or any other open standard and how is Microsoft going to handle this in the future? Any plans on opening it completely?"
    • by DrWho520 ( 655973 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:51PM (#11620007) Journal
      Why is Microsoft spending so much effort and money engaged in a publicity campaign (spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt) against Linux? Is this a standard business practice?

      I would put this akin to Chevrolet SUV commercials touting a much lower flip-over rate than Ford SUVs equiped with Firestone tires. If you believe this an unfair comparisson, please explain why. (Keep in mind that buggy/compromised software could present a risk to human life.)
    • by Tet ( 2721 ) <(slashdot) (at) (> on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @02:22PM (#11620427) Homepage Journal
      How is using a proprietary .doc better than using .pdf or any other open standard and how is Microsoft going to handle this in the future? Any plans on opening it completely?

      Actually, the question is misleading. The .doc file format is documented on MSDN[1], and is just as open as PDF. The two also serve different needs. PDF is effectively a page description language, albeit one with some nice interactivity features like forms and even animations (although few people use them). The .doc format is intented for editable documents, and stores various metadata along with the content. PDF is not and doesn't.

      But it does lead nicely to another file format related question. Last week, Bill Gates claimed []:

      But the solution that has proven consistently effective - and the one that yields the greatest success for developers today - is a strong commitment to interoperability. That means letting different kinds of applications and systems do what they do best, while agreeing on a common "contract" for how disparate systems can communicate to exchange data with one another.

      Common file formats are the contract by which office applications can exchange data with each other. Given Bill's commitment to interoperability, when can we expect the Visio file format to be documented so that other diagram editors such as Dia of Kivio can interoperate with Visio, as Bill desires?

      Similarly, the Exchange wire protocol is the contract by which mail clients communicate and exchange data with the MS Exchange mail server. I take it that we can look forward to documentation for that, too, so that the myriad email clients in use today can talk to an Exchange server?

      Another example would be the W3C standards, the contract by which a web developer sends markup information to an end user for viewing in a browser. The rest of the world is happily using CSS to provide rich presentation of information to end users. Yet as developers, we are forced to break that contract because Microsoft's IE browser doesn't honour the contract, and our web sites don't display in the intended manner. Will MS commit to bringing IE up to scratch so that it interoperates with the rest of the world?

      Will MS start making versions of Word that use standard UTF-8 character encoding, rather than a Microsoft specific one that produces output that doesn't interoperate [] with non-Microsoft platforms (and even, as we found out this week, with newer versions of IE, which correctly ignore the MS character set!)

      Or was he merely referring to making Microsoft applications interoperable with each other, a move which reduces customer choice, and prevents them from picking the best solution available for the task because it may not interoperate correctly with existing Microsoft products?

      [1] At least, it was. I don't know if that documentation has been kept up to date with the latest versions of .doc

  • Interoperability... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:08PM (#11619292)
    When Microsoft seems to tout it's desire to facilitate interoperability, do you mean interoperability seamlessly between your operating system and environment with alternative systems (such as Mac OSX, Linux, Sun Solaris, etc...) or do you mean interoperability between Microsoft products?
  • by ProteusQ ( 665382 ) * <dontbother@n[ ] ['owh' in gap]> on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:08PM (#11619293) Journal
    What applications do you run to protect your Windows boxes from malware (viruses, trojans, spyware, etc.), and what do you pay for this protection per year? How does this cost compare to the cost incurred by other Windows users? How does this cost compare to what you would pay for equivalent protection offered in Debian GNU/Linux?
  • Code Review (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:08PM (#11619300)
    How do you respond to people who say that the open-source approach and the associated peer-review process inherently create better code?
  • by lovebyte ( 81275 ) * <.lovebyte2000. .at.> on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:08PM (#11619303) Homepage
    Dear Martin,

    I have read a couple of your interviews and I would like to ask you to answer to this one in plain English. Please! Could you avoid silly metaphors (try not to mention ballpark for instance) or sentences such as "So someone asks 'Hey can you guys ...'". And try to explain what such a sentence means: "We really [wanted] to go dial down the emotion, dial down the rhetoric, have a more fact-oriented approach and dial up the pragmatic analysis of solutions." (see computerworld interview first sentence!)
    It's painful to read and hardly understandable. Thanks in advance.
  • Fear? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cyclop ( 780354 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:09PM (#11619308) Homepage Journal
    Do you think Linux and OSS is a real, tough competitor for Microsoft? And if not, why do we see such a big Linux-related marketing campaign? Does MS fear Linux?
  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:09PM (#11619316) Homepage Journal
    As GM of a major corporation, you must be expected to be aware of your competition, it's products and what they're saying about you, etc. Linux is different from routine competition, in that you don't have any single company to listen to (press releases, etc) to figure out what they're up to.

    Q. Do you frequent Slashdot and the other Linux boards to say what your competition's saying about you?

  • by JessLeah ( 625838 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:10PM (#11619325)
    I've yet to see a MS-sponsored (or MS-endorsed...) "study" on the TCO of GNU/Linux-based systems versus the TCO of Microsoft Windows that factors in such things as:

    • How Linux admins can easily administrate more machines per person-hour, due to the nature of Unix/Linux's remote administration (and don't even get me started on VNC or Terminal Services; they aren't scriptable, they aren't as bandwidth-effective, etc. etc. etc...), than Windows admins?
    • The "hidden" costs of lost time due to (A) protecting against adware/spyware/malware/viruses/pop-ups, or (B) actually disinfecting machines that got infected anyhow.
    • The "hidden" costs of downtime due to buggy MS software. Sure, F/OSS stuff has bugs too, but when it does, at least the admin can try to fix them. When MS software is buggy, the admin is 100% at MS's mercy to fix the bug (since, being closed source, MS software is often 100% unfixable to anyone outside MS...)
    • The "hidden" costs of dealing with "hacked" IIS servers (vs. Apache).
    And a further question: Do Linux geeks really pull in that much more money salary-wise than Windows geeks!? find this claim hard to swallow, especially in today's economy. I call BS. Show some proof.
  • Competition (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rongage ( 237813 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:10PM (#11619331)

    Is there any real, actual reason why you (Microsoft) feel a need to use less than independant reviews and tests to attempt to establish Windows superiority? Would it really be so bad for you to let your products stand (or fall) on their own?

  • 3 areas (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jcarte01 ( 705242 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:10PM (#11619334)
    Can you mention 3 areas where you think windows is better than linux and vice versa.
  • by Doug Dante ( 22218 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:10PM (#11619336)
    To what extent are open source applications on Windows helping it to be more competitive versus Linux? For example, I immediately install, Firefox, and Thunderbird over a virgin Windows install.
  • by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:12PM (#11619362) Homepage
    One of the biggest criticisms I have heard of .NET is that it is not portable to non Microsoft/Windows platforms. Microsoft has released Rotor, a CLR/BCL system for FreeBSD systems, that with some work can be made to work with MacOS X. Furthermore, there is the Mono system which provides a CLR for Linux.

    My question is does Microsoft have any intentions of implementing a CLR and BCL for any other non Microsoft platforms where applications built under one would be (relatively) easily used under another (provided the application does not rely on P/Invokes of course)? If not... why?
  • Future... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JossiRossi ( 840900 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:15PM (#11619417) Homepage
    Since Linux is likely here to stay, regardless of current quality, where do you feel Linux will be in 20 years. Especially when compared to where you feel Microsoft's OS will be in 20 years.
    • Re:Future... (Score:3, Interesting)

      More specifically, Mono.
      When Mono is 'ready', and MS Office is ported to C#, do you foresee marketing GNU/Linux binaries of Word/Excel/PowerPoint/Access/Visio/Project?
      My suspicion is, sure, for MS has always favored profit over prophesy.
  • by Dark Lord Seth ( 584963 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:16PM (#11619426) Journal

    Mr Taylor,

    I myself am convinced that neither Windows nor Linux are superior solutions if one's to have an objective view. In my humble opinion, the "superiority" of a system lies in the hands of the administrator responsible for said system and not with the type of software used, in this case. For example, a good Window system administrator with some good experience and the right tools can easily maintain a server just like a well trained and experienced Linux system administrator can maintain his servers. Quite a few people agree on this and recognize the fact that the skills of the responsible administrator are more significant then the software platform used.

    The question is, what is your position on this? Do you agree with the aforementioned idea about system administrator capabilities being more important? Or are you convinced that the software platform used is more important?

    • My vote: "against". A yes/no question giving no real insight and trying to trick the opponent into saying something that will sound silly. The problem is the difference of platform quality will show when the administrators are both equally skilled on their respective platforms. And schools of administration of Linux and Windos are so different, that it's impossible to compare skills of the two, it's impossible to tell whether they are "equally skilled" - the factors you CAN measure are compound ones - i.e.
  • by RailGunner ( 554645 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:17PM (#11619438) Journal
    Why do you claim Windows has a lower Total Cost of Ownership, yet you do not add the costs (not incurred by Linux / FOSS) of a Virus Scanner, Microsoft Office on the desktop or IIS / SQL Server on the server, plus the damage that is done by such worms as the Blaster and Slammer worms?

    Especially when the costs of upgrading is recurring.

  • "Platform" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Knights who say 'INT ( 708612 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:17PM (#11619442) Journal
    As a research economist working in the field of network externalities, I'd like to know a little more about the history of your position at Microsoft. Since when there has been a Platform Strategy division? Do you follow the academic literature on fields like network externalities or produce entirely original theoretical work to support strategical advisory?
  • by johnhennessy ( 94737 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:19PM (#11619474)

    One of the most vital part of any platforms eco-systems are the developers for your platform. Two of the more popular enterprise level platforms currently for show are probably .NET and Java.

    With the current fight for brain-share among developers with these two platforms, the main focus appear to be on easy of use/integration (where Visual Studio currently leads) and maturity (where I think Java has a head-start).

    How do you convince (1) the developers and (2) managers to put their faith in Windows and the .NET platform ahead of Java (with Linux/Solaris/whatever).

    How do you plan to convince potential customers to use your .NET implementation and not an implementation (that would run on Linux) by a third party ?
  • Free version (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sosume ( 680416 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:20PM (#11619494) Journal
    Will there ever be a free (as in beer) version of Windows, stripped bare of everything but IE and without any network server capabilities? That might compete quite nicely with Lunix.
  • by Askadar ( 773863 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:20PM (#11619505) Homepage
    I assume that you must have evaluated Linux to learn its (supposedly) weak points. While doing that, what did you find out about linux that you think is good? Where is Linux challenging MS the most? (except price, of course)
  • less is more (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gregm ( 61553 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:21PM (#11619514)
    I'm believe that a kernel that is compiled for a server-only machine is going to be faster, more stable and more secure than one compiled to run a gui environment on a workstation.

    I fail to see why anyone would opt to have to have a Windows gui with IE, Outlook Express, Freecel, Media Player, etc. running on a their server.

    Will Microsoft ever become truly serious in the server market and offer an OS that doesn't have all this crap installed by default?

  • big difference (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:21PM (#11619522) Homepage Journal
    If Windows really were a superior OS, with all the profit motives and organization, wouldn't the superiority of MS apps be beyond question? And if so, why wouldn't you just open the MS data formats, to coopt the Linux users, too?
  • by drizst 'n drat ( 725458 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:22PM (#11619526)
    Linux distros allow you to install on multiple machines. With the advent of home networking, why doesn't Microsoft allow a reasonable number of machines to be installed from a single user license (say 5 machines) rather than forcing a home user to purchase multiple copies (or buy inflated license paks).
  • by Omega ( 1602 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:22PM (#11619535) Homepage
    Since Unix has undergone decades of testing; code review and improvements; and security tuning, do you see Microsoft following Apple's lead and building the next generation of Windows as a GUI under a Unix kernel?
  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:23PM (#11619537) Journal
    While there are many ways in which Linux and Windows compete, in many ways they can also be complementary to each other.

    In what ways could Microsoft see Linux working with windows (or for that matter with other MS products) as opposed to being a competing product.
  • by Aim Here ( 765712 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:24PM (#11619563)
    All these serial number checks, dial-home schemes, registration schemes, digital "rights" management schemes, crippled 'starter' versions of windows, and now all sorts of anti-piracy checks whenever someone wants to patch ther Windows box - Microsoft does spend an awful lot of time and effort deliberately making sure their software doesn't work unless the customer jumps through the appropriate hoops.

    Aren't you worried that this continual (and increasingly intrusive) process of deliberately breaking and/or crippling your own software is going to alienate some your customers and make them feel like criminals, particularly since the makers of the 'free software' operating systems that you're now competing against have no need of any of it and can concentrate all of their resources on trying to make their software work?

  • One of the myths about Windows is that there is a company behind it you can hold responsible for flaws that impact an organization. If you read the EULA of any MS product, even an update, it disclaims any responsibility whatever. They specifically avow that they are not fit for any purpose.

    So what's up with that?

    Open source licenses usually have the same thing, but those are generally free products. You guys have taken in a couple hundred billion. Plus, we can use the code as we like. So you can't claim any kind of equivalence.
  • by John the Kiwi ( 653757 ) <kiwi@johnthek[ ].com ['iwi' in gap]> on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:27PM (#11619630) Homepage
    Hi Martin

    I'm an independant contractor with an MCSE that supports a small customer base of companies that mostly run Windows software. I have four development and testing computers at my house, all of which run Linux and free software solutions, this is because I cannot afford to buy Windows 2003 server, Office 2003, dev studio and a lot of other recent releases.

    With my cost free Open Source testing platform I have designed and implemented quite a few solutions with software such as Open Office, Open Exchange, Samba etc.

    With online activation and licensing restrictions I am not able to run any Microsoft software in a test environment to ensure it is adequately tested and ensure I am able to support it.

    This is driving my skill set and support abilities away from Microsoft and squarely into the arms of the Open Source camp. What (if anything) is Microsoft doing to combat this and ensure that the professionals in the field that sell and support your software have access to the resources they require?

    John the Kiwi
    • i never really looked at the details however i heard from someone that MCSE got a subscription to the MSDN as long as they remained licensed. which AFAIK requires a test every year or so.

      those MSDN subscription should allow you to install Windows on as many machines as you want for dev/testing purposes.
  • by JordanAU ( 855885 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:29PM (#11619670)
    This won't get anwsered i'm sure but... If you had to choose between linux and apple for competition over the next decade who would you choose? In other words, do you see Linux or Apple as a bigger threat to Microsoft's share of the OS market.
  • Open standards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jane_Dozey ( 759010 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:30PM (#11619680)
    Why does Microsoft regularly seem to decide to break with open standards and impliment their own version of them?
  • Windows 64 Bit? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aarmenaa ( 712174 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:33PM (#11619734) Journal
    We've had x86-64 for a while now, but we're hearing that we may have to wait until the first half of next year for 64 bit Windows. It seems as if Microsoft is missing the party here. I can get Linux 64 bit binaries right now. Can this be seen as an example of the open-source Linux out manuvering it's competitors?
  • by erikharrison ( 633719 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:35PM (#11619762)
    Sitting here on the Linux side of the fence, and as a part time Open Source developer, I can tell you the things I admire about Windows, both as a platform for development and as a workstation or server. Specifically, the painstakingly preserved backwards compatibility, and the pervasive integration of system are the envy of anyone who has had to use or develop for a wide range of Linux distributions.

    What I don't see is the other side - specifically, what does Microsoft see in Linux? What does Linux offer that Windows does not, and what does Linux offer that Windows doesn't do as well, from a Microsoft point of view? Just as important, where is Microsoft headed to close those gaps?
  • by kanweg ( 771128 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:39PM (#11619826)
    If I were a PC manufacturer, I would partition the insanely large hard disks we have today and put Windows on one partition and Linux together with lots of free software on the other. That would make an excellent buy for anyone (people can always erase the Linux part if they prefer Windows' polished looks and use the second partition for file storage).
    Yet, while there are a couple of PC manufacturers that sell a version of their computer with either Linux or Windows, there is none who does sell a single computer with both operating systems? Is there any financial or legal stimulus by Microsoft that prevents PC manufacturers from offering these attractive dual boot computers?

  • product or service ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by savuporo ( 658486 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:41PM (#11619857)
    should software be sold as a product or a service ?
    Is there any particular type of software ( op sysems/enterprise apps/utilities/research software/etc ) that should be open source ? why ?
  • Release timing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bushidocoder ( 550265 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:45PM (#11619913) Homepage
    Bill Gates has said that in ten years, there will only be two operating systems - Windows and Linux. Given that Microsoft has officially recognized that Linux is its principal competition, how do you plan on combatting the release schedule of open source software? As a Gnome user, every six months I'm treated to incremental improvements and features - As a Windows user, I have to wait years for a single large batch of improvements to Windows.

    I understand that Enterprise customers prefer large updates on a long timetable, but consumers tend to want new features now - I don't want to wait three years for a feature that Gnome, KDE or Apple has to show up in Windows. How do you plan on preventing the Windows brand from becoming "stale" when viewed in relation to a community with a much more rapid and dynamic release schedule?

  • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:45PM (#11619929)
    Microsoft's "Get the facts" campaing has been highly publicised in a wide variety of places, and frequently cites figures from studies that seem to show Windows at an advantage over Linux, yet on careful examination of these studies there are often methodological flaws in them.

    I recall reading the details of one from the downloadable report on the Microsoft web site [] recently that compared the throughput of Windows + IIS to Linux + Apache for serving static web pages. The figures showed Windows in a clear lead, yet on closer examination it appears that the Windows installation had been thoroughly optimised (by, e.g., turning off the collection of last access information on the file system and increasing the default filesystem block size, see pages 30 & 33 of the document linked) whereas similar optimisations had not been applied to the Linux system for the test (with default configurations suggested by the distribution installer accepted for filesystem parameters, see pages 30 - 32 of the document).

    How would you answer those who are concerned that by presenting these "independent" tests where the testers have followed precise instructions from Microsoft on how to optimise their products but have not (apparently) consulted Linux experts on how to optimise Linux systems as authoritative that you are unfairly distorting the truth and painting a poor picture of Linux? Is it just that you're doing your job the only way you can, because on a level playing field Linux would win? Or is the picture of these reports as unfair to Linux in some way wrong?
  • OSS Contributions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by carpe_noctem ( 457178 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:46PM (#11619939) Homepage Journal
    Many major companies such as IBM and Apple have learned that they can benefit from OSS software by taking an existing OSS product, refining it to fit their needs, and then redistributing the finished product and giving some source back to the community. In this manner, for instance, Apple was able to produce Safari, which is IMO a high-quality and stable web browser, that was produced much faster than it would have taken Apple to write an equivilent product from scratch.

    Why has Microsoft not taken similar approaches to software development? I guess that in the past, OSS code has been used in Windows (TCP stack, for starters), but why does Microsoft insist on resisting innovation rather than contributing to it?
  • Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:47PM (#11619945) Homepage
    What are the three best reasons that I, as a technically capable user with a reasonable interest in computing, should choose Windows for my own personal use?
  • by Alan Hicks ( 660661 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:47PM (#11619952) Homepage

    It seems apparent to me that Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server are propped up by third party ISVs. For example, I've done work with small credit unions which use a software system that will only interact with SQL Server, requiring of course, a Windows Server OS as well.

    In this situation the software costs for a new server far exceed the hardware costs. Most of these applications have no need for anything beyond a basic SQL db server, yet were written before MySQL, Postrgres, and other OSS db's became viable alternatives to SQL Server. ISVs typically refuse to incur the costs of re-writing their software to no longer use specific SQL Server hooks. This gives Microsoft a huge inertia advantage over other platforms as far as small businesses go. I've spoken with many small business owners and the ISVs and generally speaking they agree that using a cheaper GNU/Linux solution would be preferable.

    Given that such flagship products as Windows Server 2003 Small Business and SQL Server 2000 compete with Linux not on it's own merits, but on what ISVs allow you to choose, how do you expect to compete with OSS once the ISVs begin to change their strategy?

  • Are google morons? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by augustz ( 18082 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:54PM (#11620049) Homepage
    Given that TCO is significantly less for windows than linux[1], are the folks at google morons for using linux?

    They use a LOT of computers, and TCO has got to be important in that enviroment.

    [1] See MS advertising and "Get the Facts" literature.
  • by gov_coder ( 602374 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:54PM (#11620054) Homepage
    I moved off windows in 1997 when a virus ate my master's thesis. AV vendor was no help. MS was no help. Basically nobody could help me. I had to retype 130+ pages from old printouts. I have yet to have a single problem on Linux, since I moved in 1997. No issuues with malware of any kind. Its been close to 7 years now. All my windows using friends have constant problems with malware - even several of the MCSE sys-admins have such problems. Why should I ever come back to windows?
  • by briancnorton ( 586947 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @02:04PM (#11620204) Homepage
    What do you see as being "wrong" with linux on the desktop? Are the problems inherent to the licensing regime or is it a technical issue? Is it something like the fragmented environment? (kde v. gnome) Is it poor applications? Is it an underdeveloped user experience? Lack of commercial software development? I have a feeling that your insight on this topic would be very interesting to many in this community.
  • nothing more, nothing less. Do any of you expect an honest answer to any of your questions when this guy is paid to set expectations?

    Given that, here is my question:

    How does your background make you an authoritative source on IT matters? Give me a few reasons why I would want to ask you a question and value your answer?

    (Sorry that's harsh, but I honestly want to know!)

  • Martin, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @02:17PM (#11620380)
    Microsoft is quick to point out that with Open Source there is no one with absolute "responsibility." What tangible asset does Microsoft's responsibility give me? In the end, I may be able to point the finger at Microsoft, but your EULA absolves you of any responsibility should your code destroy my data. With OSS I can at least go into the code and perhaps fix the offending bug. Is Microsoft planning to guarantee their code and thus wage "reparations" to up the anti in their campaign against Open Source Software?
  • by Builder ( 103701 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @02:24PM (#11620454)
    There are many cases of Microsoft deviating from accepted standards. The reasons that are normally given for this generally don't stand up to public scrutiny.

    Why does Microsoft persist in breaking standards just to lock the competition out? Is it that you are too scared to compete on the merits of your products, the fact that this behaviour has become institutionalised, or some other reason?
  • by will-el ( 78139 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @02:36PM (#11620611)
    I work in a technical environment (chip design) on
    linux, and the only reason I use Windows is to work
    with documents from Microsoft Office. Will Microsoft release a version of Office for linux,
    and if not, why not? It seems to me a major opportunity for consumer choice was lost when Microsoft was not broken up into independent OS and Applications companies.
  • by Lodragandraoidh ( 639696 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @02:44PM (#11620734) Journal
    With superior integrated Apple products being released on the market for consumers at prices they can afford, and more cost effective and stable Linux distributions available for scientific, development and server applications (and breathing life into older machines for such purposes), I am moving my desktop systems over to Mac Minis, and my backend servers onto Linux.

    What would you say to stop me from migrating off of my current Windows solution in this environment?
  • by amightywind ( 691887 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @02:52PM (#11620829) Journal

    Mr. Taylor,

    Will you be answering all of these questions by yourself, or will Bill Gates have his hand up your ass making your mouth work?

  • by 7-Vodka ( 195504 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @04:56PM (#11622337) Journal
    Since your job usually entails describing the advantages that your license model and windows operating system have over other license models and OS's, you should be quite familiar with these topics. Therefore I would like to turn the tables on you in the hope of some honest answers:

    1. What are the advantages that gnu/linux has over Windows for the typical user / software developer / corporation?
    2. Why is gnu/linux better suited for open standards than a proprietary operating system?
    3. Why would you recommend using gnu/linux for publicly funded government projects?
    4. What are the best advantages of using Free Software (read: GPL) in third world countries?
    5. What aspects of Free Software licenses do you feel are particularly well suited to speed up scientific discovery, program development, teaching etc. in an academic environment?
    6. How do you feel that Free Software can benefit mankind as a whole?
    7. Finally, please list any advantages proprietary licenses have over Free Software licenses.
    Feel free to keep the answers short as some of them are quite obvious to someone well versed in how Free Software works. Thanks!
  • by Cyberfox ( 17743 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @05:53PM (#11622986) Homepage
    A simple, honest question that I care about a lot.

    Is there a point in marketshare that Microsoft will consider porting their Office suite to Linux, possibly starting from their Mac OS X codebase?

    Can you give us any hints about where that point is?

    You've got a hard job. Best of luck with it.

    -- Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!
  • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @06:22PM (#11623350)
    Windows XP lacks many useful features from the command line. For instance, tools like find, grep, the many features in ls, symlinks ("shortcuts" aren't nearly as versatile), and many others have no Windows equivalents.

    Many times while attempting to connect to a wireless network I have wished for the simplicity of iwconfig.

    This makes Windows much less attractive than Linux from a "power user" standpoint; it is easier for me to type a few commands than to go fishing in menus to find what I want.

    Does Microsoft have any plans to modernize the command-line support in Windows?
  • Statistics shows that the growth of Linux will reach a 30% marketshare by 2007, far exceeding that of the Macintosh. Since Microsoft develops software for the Macintosh, would it then be possible to develop software for Linux, clearing having the largest marketshare?

    If the marketshare of Linux doubles every year, and many Linux users dual-boot both Windows and Linux, wouldn't it make sense to support Linux instead of bashing it? It would, after all, allow Microsoft to sell two copies of MS-Office, etc for both platforms.

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