[Linux-aus] [Osia-discuss] If you could ask Microsoft a question, what would it be?

Glen Turner gdt at gdt.id.au
Sun Jan 13 12:19:05 UTC 2008

On Sun, 2008-01-13 at 15:56 +1100, Con Zymaris wrote:

> perhaps, but this approach to speak to LUGs is unlikely to be coming
> from Microsoft's 'non-core product' technology teams, which mostly hook
> themselves into university research groups and subvert what those groups
> are doing so that they now do it under .NET 

Microsoft is so large that it doesn't quite work like that.

Microsoft Research are pretty straight-down-the-line corporate
research, seeing themselves in the tradition of Bell Labs.
Unfortunately, after all of this time they have yet to get
runs on the board (no Nobel Prize, etc).

Microsoft has a different team which supports Higher Education.
These people are directly charged with supplanting Linux with
.NET in Computer Science, Engineering.  If any part of Microsoft
is the sugar-coated iron fist, it's this lot.

Then there are competitive teams with a particular focus. One
of these is tasked to reduce Linux's dominance of the Top 500
supercomputer list.

Country offices get called in to assist these activities on occasion,
as we've seen with the competitive team working on making OOXML
a standard or with the infrastructure for the deep discounts on
Vista+Office for students in an attempt to retain mindshare.

Conversely, higher education and research itself is huge and
incredibly varied.  Linux dominates Big Science and engineering,
but Microsoft dominates business studies and arts.

My questions, from where I sit:

 - Neither Windows or Linux or Apple is going to dominate higher
   education. When is Microsoft going to "play nicely" with other
   parts of the IT infrastructure?  The low point would have to
   be the unnecessary alterations to Kerberos to prevent inter-
   working with Active Directory.  As a customer in a multi-
   vendor world I need the problems that makes like a hole in
   the head.  Perhaps it means I'll buy Microsoft's products
   but it isn't buying my loyalty.

 - Patents.  Bill Gates once opposed software patents.
   Now he supports them. It has cost Microsoft billions.
   Why does Microsoft continue its support?

 - Execution. Licensing 7.0, Vista. What's going wrong in Redmond?

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