[Linux-aus] Microsoft is a reality, please just deal with it [Was: SMH and The Age :)]

Andrew Cowie andrew at operationaldynamics.com.au
Wed Feb 26 09:37:23 UTC 2003

On Wed, 2003-02-26 at 11:13, Con Zymaris wrote:
> Publicly belittling Microsoft in this way is a tactic fraught with
> negative repercussions. Microsoft will be around in 20 years time, and
> still a force in this industry. Our hope should be to assist them in
> following IBM's footsteps


>  in moving from strong-arm monopolist to a
> powerful force benefiting the industry as a whole. IBM shifted from a
> company which withheld crucial or breakthrough technologies (because these
> unbalanced IBM's monopoly strategy,) to a company which is increasingly
> respected for its technological prowess and in its execution of
> competitive strategies.

And this needs to be encouraged. Just because IBM has set off down this
road doesn't mean that they won't start backsliding next year. If we,
however, are patient, encouraging, and supportive of their efforts their
work will continue to be a contribution.

You want to talk about vision? Imagine a future where Microsoft is a
truly Open Source company, contributing to software and standards that
everyone can improve, vet, and reuse. What would YOU give to have their
50,000 programmers on your side?

Impossible you say? Not at all. Part of their current strategy?
Certainly not. But perhaps someday market forces will take them there -
and a liberal dose of *encouragement* from us will help point the way. 

Just as the Free and Open Source Software movement has been doing with
since the beginning.

Every single achievement (From Star Office and Mozilla, to Linux itself
12 years ago, to a 10 line script which someone makes public in the
hopes that someone else might benefit) are but baby steps in the
evolution and growth of the Science and Practice of better Computing for

Attempting to belittle Microsoft in public as tends to happen on this
list only makes us sound like children; as Con and Jeff have said, that
only invites scorn and not legitimate engagement. Competition of ideas
and products is a *positive* force.

Certainly, we need to keep them honest - the current concerns about
"shared source" and .NET ECMA submissions being a prime example. If they
say they are doing something Open, then let us make sure it is the case;
if it is, rejoice and congratulate them. If it isn't quite, point out
clearly and responsibly that they haven't quite done what they say they

Advocacy is one thing, frothing at the mouth another. Leave the froth
for your afternoon Cappuccino!


Andrew Frederick Cowie
Operational Dynamics Consulting Pty Ltd

Australia +61 2 9977 6866  North America +1 646 270 5376

andrew at operationaldynamics.com.au

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