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Re: <nettime> 'MS Linux'?
Matt Rose on Sat, 3 Apr 1999 17:01:47 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> 'MS Linux'?


On Tue, 23 Mar 1999, Florian Cramer wrote:

> Am Tue, 23.Mar.1999 um 11:53:31 +0100 schrieb Frank Fremerey:

[a lot of interesting snippage, read the original post]

> > again. Otherwise: Expect MS to reign Linux within 2 years.

	Every time I hear of somebody "reigning" or "taking over Linux I
have to give a little snort.  One thing everybody seems to forget is that
as long as one person with enough conviction and a little talent is
maintaining a Linux distribution, Linux cannot die.   The reason for this
is the GPL.  Richard Stallman came up with a way, 15 years ago, to ensure
that the code under his license would always be free.


	Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation wrote the
license for the linux kernel. and much of the low level software for
linux.  Some of you may have heard of Richard Stallman; he's fanatically
devoted to the idealistic world were every piece of software is completely
open.  To further this effort he wrote the General (or GNU) Public License
(GPL)  that states in no uncertain terms that the software is to be
distributed with source code, and all modifications of the source code
must be published. Go to http://www.fsf.org/copyleft/gpl.html to learn
more abourt the GPL.
	
	Now a little while ago, somebody brought up the idea that MS
could break the license.  "Why not?"  you ask.  The reason is that MS uses
the exact same methods and legal arguments to write it's own end user
license agreement (EULA), and if they tried to break the GPL, then
somebody would use the same legal arguments to break their EULA.

	A lot of people are stuck in the same very strange paradigm that
appeared in the '80s with software as Intellectual Property, and paying
hugely inflated prices for something that costs the company very close to
nothing to produce.[1]  Microsoft is used to thinking in this paradigm as
well, Bill Gates has forgotten that he very nearly invented the world of
closed-source software with the "Open Letter to Computer Hobbyists" [2] 
that he wrote in the late seventies regarding his OS for the Altair 8800.
	
	Microsoft is fighting a deaparate battle against linux.  They are
slowly realizing that all of their traditional tactics of suppressing
another software company aren't working.  First, they came out with FUD
(Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) on Linux, however the Halloween memos [3] by
inside MS staffers put all their FUD positions on very shaky ground.  Now
they are trying another tried and true tactic:  Vaporware.  The practice
of announcing fictitious software to discourage others from developing
competing software.  For MS, linux is like the bubble in the wallpaper
that it keeps trying to smooth out, they keep on trying to push it down in
one place, only to have it pop out somewhere else.

	If, and this is a big if, We lose a lot of the mindshare that
Linux has gained in the past 6 months because of an MS-Linux.  We won't
fold up shop, or sell out to microsoft, which is normally what happens. 
	We will continue to write superior software and continue to
release it to anyone who wants.  We were running Linux a long time before
anyone else noticed. As short as a year ago, no one I spoke to outside of
the very small linux community had ever heard of Linux.  Once you learn
Linux you will never try and do real work under any other OSes, you get
used to uptimes in the hundreds of days.

> 
> I can see no whatsoever evidence of that. Even if Win32 should become the
> standard API for commercial Linux/Unix productivity software, the existing
> Windows desktop can in no way be used to manage Linux/Unix system services,

	Actually the NT desktop is used right now to run a lot of the
same services as run under any UNIX.  

> But I would go with your statement if it were put into a metaphor. MS - or
> rather - MS paradigms already _do_ reign the Linux desktop if you look at
> both look'n'feel and internal architectures of KDE and Gnome, at such
> popular window managers as fvwm95 and icewm, and at the majority of current
> X11-based applications.

	Actually, the interface ideas of many of the window managers are
taken from all different sources, there are a lot based on a NeXTSTEP
GUI.  To use your examples:
fvwm95 and icewm are superficially similar to Windows 95/NT, until you
click on the mouse button, in which case it takes on a whole different
aspect.  
KDE is almost a complete rip-off of Solaris CDE
GNOME is somewhat of a cross between the IRIX GUI and CDE.

[1]  for more information about the absurdity of Operating System as     
software with a lot of value see
http://www.cryptonomicon.com/beginning_print.html

[2]  I can't seem to find a URL for this one right now.  if someone does 
find it, can they let me know?

[3]  http://www.opensource.org/halloween.html



> Florian
> 
> --=20
> Florian Cramer, PGP public key ID 6440BA05, ICQ 33582613
> Permutations/Permutationen - poetry automata from 330 A.D. to
> present: <http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~cantsin/index.cgi>
> 
> --/04w6evG8XlLl3ft
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> 
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