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

Steven D'Aprano steve at cybersource.com.au
Mon Jan 14 01:05:01 UTC 2008

On Sun, 13 Jan 2008 10:23:11 am Jeff Waugh wrote:
> A large 'corp' doesn't have a singular focus or decision-making
> capability. They had some folk coming out here from their Open
> Source office (who I have met), so made the approach. Good on them.
> It's not like they *need* to stick their head in the lion's mouth.

Well, actually, if Microsoft want to be taken seriously in the Open 
Source community, they do.

If you can't get the OS community to treat you positively, you might 
as well not bother. It's not like you can engage with "Linux Corp" 
while treating the users like crap. The users *are* "Linux Corp".

(Open Source doesn't just mean Linux, but the same pretty much applies 
to any OS system. Not just software either: think Wikipedia.)

Of course, Microsoft the larger entity might not genuinely care about 
engaging with the OS community. But I bet that the guys in the OS 
office genuinely do.

Questions I would ask:

(1) How much influence do you guys actually have with the rest of 

(2) Given how little influence you have, what can you do for the 
community that MS can't/won't subvert in ways that are bad for the 

(3) When do you think we will be able to engage with Microsoft without 
looking for the poisoned pill? Five years? Ten?

(4) It's hard to find accurate figures for desktop market share, but 
it seems that Linux desktops and Mac desktops are roughly equivalent 
in size (albeit very different markets). What would it take for 
Microsoft to treat the Linux desktop market as seriously as they 
treat Apple? e.g. Office for Linux. Not necessarily open source 

Yes, some of these are leading questions. I'm pretty much assuming I 
already know the answers. But I think it would be good to hear what 
answers they give, and more importantly, *how* they answer them, e.g. 
are they evasive or open, apologetic or in-your-face? That will 
probably tell us far more than the actual answers they give.

Steven D'Aprano 
Operations Manager 
Cybersource Pty Ltd, ABN 13 053 904 082 
Level 1, 130-132 Stawell St, Richmond VIC 3121 
Tel: +61 3 9428 6922   Fax: +61 3 9428 6944 
Web: http://www.cybersource.com.au 

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