RE : Please Reinstate the OS Wars

This post is in reply to an article wrtitten by Ken Hess on Daniweb.
In that post, he talked about how he would love to see another cold war between Linux and Windows. To put it bluntly, I simply disagree with the post. If anything at all, the so called war is part of the reason Linux, after close to twenty years of existence is still struggling to surpass the 5% market share.
Microsoft, like the millions of other businesses out there, needs to make a profit. Microsoft is a competitor to Linux, that I think is what most people, including the author of that post, seem to forget. Microsoft always acts with one motive- profit maximization. It seems to me that most Linux vendors, on the other hand, are simply confused about what they are up to. They just are not certain whether they are in for profit or for the heck of it.
What Linux operates in is called a market, and markets have rules by which you must play if you are to make any  meaningful headway. I simply disagree with the philosophy where people hate Microsoft because they think Microsoft is not helping Linux to grow. There is no way under this sun that Microsoft would ever help Linux to grow because Microsoft has rightly identified Linux as a competitor and as such takes Linux seriously. Linux vendors and users on the other hand, see Microsoft as a company that is the devil’s incarnate. In as much as it has used some questionable market tactics in the  past, Microsoft has largely succeeded in maintaining its dominant market share because it knows it it is out to do business and make profit, thus every single move it ever makes is in pursuance of that goal including the recent launch of the so called Codeplex which I  think people should be wary of.
In the world of business, there is no room for sentiments as most Linux proponents are used to, you either are in for a reason (profit), or you are trampled upon by those with a reason.Unfortunaley, Linux falls in the latter group.Take a look at the Linux world, there does not seem to be a single bit of cohesion or coordination whatsoever, it is simply one big, chaotic world made up of mostly hobbyists who are in for the fun of it. I have no problem with people writing their own OS for the fun of it. But I have a problem when such people blame and needlessly hate Microsoft for being  a hindrance to their growth when they have themselves  no clear objective to which they aim with their handiwork.
I strongly think the days of the so called cold war alluded to by Ken in his post should never come back, because all it does is to needlessly distract people from focusing on the business at hand: the business of working to make Linux a viable, profitable OS liked by the market. Instead of the various Linux vendors coming together to seek a common ground and work together towards a common goal, they are rather comfortable with blaming everything wrong with Linux on Microsoft.
Before you say there can be no cohesion in the world of Linux, I urge you to first take a look at the European Union, though that bloc is not perfect, at least they have a united front with which they seek their common interests. I do not believe hating Microsoft has ever done any good to Linux, on the contrary, it has rather stifled growth. It it is time to define clearly what Linux is. Whether it is an OS that aims at being a formidable, profitable competitor to Windows, or just a hobbyists thing that is happy to subsist on donations from its users. That is a question to be answered by the entire Linux world before the so called OS war is reinstated as wished by Ken.

3 thoughts on “RE : Please Reinstate the OS Wars

  1. Anonymous says:

    I cant agree more, well said.

    But it's not only MS that needs to turn a profit. It's the OEM's, they make their living by the razor thin markup they receive on each system component that they purchase wholesale and package (OEM).

    So, the margin is small, but it's something, if they do not charge for software they make no profit from the "sale".

    OEM's dont live by giving away free product, they make a living by making a small profit on what they sell.

    They need to sell, and they need to buy.

    The problem is also systemic, FOSS programmers do not have a financial incentive to create commercial quality work, it does not matter if it's not as good, as they consider the compensation for that is it's price.

    Price alone is not enough to incite change, people will tend to pay as much as they can afford for the best of a type of product.

    They do know about price/performance/support/familarity/commonality/

    and if a product only meets ONE of those categories then it's basically a failure in the commercail world.

    As you have clearly indicated… thanks.

  2. Magice says:

    I cannot disagree more with what you write, my dear friend. It is like telling Jefferson, "Dudes, stop your stupid war. The point is not about British Empire or Democracy! Don't you see how chaotic the Congress is? The point is world market share. Hating tyrants and British Empire is stupid and dividing. Stop your non-sense and work to compete for the market. Only one thing matters: money."

    It's just, you know, bad. Do you remember why Linus Torvalds wrote Linux? Because he could not find a free (as in freedom; yes, he had an OS, he just could not copy it) Operating System. Do you remember why Richard Stallman started GNU (which, by now, responsible for most of a GNU/Linux installation)? Because he wanted his freedom.

    None of them started their careers to, says, make billions of dollars, or take 20% of the market, or whatnots. Both of them do it for freedom, for fun, for community, etc. And, guess what, GNU/Linux does grow. Maybe not market share, but feature wise, power wise, stability wise, etc., it grows. How? By encouraging freedom, forking, child projects, etc. Remember what happened to BSD368? Oh, you have not heard of it? BSD368 is another early freedom operating system. However, it was totally different from GNU/Linux: it was controlled, and its authors wanted everything about it to be under their control. Guess where it went? Of course, nowhere. People flocked to Linux and GNU.

    This continues even to nowadays. BSDs are famously stable and powerful, but are far from up-to-date or easy to use. They are, you know, structural, the images of what many Ubuntu-ers want Linux to be. Of course, their market shares also go nowhere fast.

    All in all, stop your money-oriented brainwashing attempts. It cloaks the news room. Let me go and check what is the latest GNU/Linux distro. That's what grows Linux and its spirit: choices, freedom, love, fun.

  3. sinaisix says:

    I totally agree with you about the philosophical aspect of Linux, however, the point still remains that if Linux is to make any meaningful headway in the market(which it still operates in albeit its philosophy), then it must at some point in time, play by the rules of the market.
    Don't get me wrong, i fanatically believe in the tenets of GNU/Linux and Open Source in general,but then the over one billion or so other people out there don't even know about it, let alone believe in it. So to get to such people, i strongly believe we must play by the rules of the market. It should a be a means to achieve an end and not an end in it self.
    A cup of coffee for the Jefferson analogy.

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