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How Microsoft is losing to GNU/Linux

If "a year of GNU/Linux on the desktop" is defined as a year when GNU/Linux has finally started its steady encroachment to the desktop then 2006 is the year. A lot of users have started using GNU/Linux on their desktops long before, but it is 2006 which marked the two probably biggest GNU/Linux desktop releases to date, Ubuntu Dapper and Novell SuSE 10. It is 2006 which marks the biggest opportunity for GNU/Linux to steal the desktop market share from Windows due to the bad reputation behind the pending Windows Vista release. And the eyes and focus of both the GNU/Linux community and major GNU/Linux corporations such as Novell are fixed on that opportunity. Novell marketing is true: "Your Linux is ready."

What is happening at this stage is what I would call "cleaning out the pockets" of the market consisted of the remaining advanced desktop computer users. Those are everyone who knows at least enough to be able to install and re-install Windows. Those are the users who don't need to get the OS pre-installed on their computer to be able to run it. Those are the users which are, at an increasing rate, considering trying out GNU/Linux. In alot of cases they are in fact being chased away to GNU/Linux, as this guy will tell you. Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot by being what they are, a *proprietary software* company who actively wants to fight unauthorized copying and use of their software (AKA "piracy"). What their measures against this "piracy" end up causing though is not so much a cease of unauthorized copying, but the steady reduction of their desktop market share, as rigorous measures they have put in place are annoying users away to the free platform readily waiting for them: a Free Software platform which is GNU/Linux.

This mainly affects those advanced users who know the difference between a computer and an operating system that it runs, users who know enough to think and choose for themselves rather than leave the choices to someone else and users on which many "newbie" computer users depend on. In other words, what is happening is that all users who know enough to *choose* are increasingly choosing GNU/Linux.

And this bears more signficance than it seems. If it is those advanced users choosing GNU/Linux who the "newbie" non-choosing computer user depend on, than they will increasingly be choosing GNU/Linux for those users who depend on them. In other words, as advanced users continue to switch to GNU/Linux, more of their less computer advanced friends will be switching as well, sometimes without even realizing the full meaning of the switch. The advanced computer guy that is their friend will simply install GNU/Linux over their computer and assure them that it will now run better.

This considered, advanced users mean alot for keeping a market share of a certain operating system. They are basically the anchor (or at least one of the anchors) of this market share. They are the ones who can make make a big difference. If they continue switching to GNU/Linux as they are, Windows market share is no longer so unbeatable.

So thank you Microsoft for annoying the light bearers of your market share away to GNU/Linux. You are really helping us! ;)

Now, it all reminds me of the futile battle RIAA and MPAA are leading against file sharing. What have these lawsuits and intimidation done is not so much the decrease of file sharing (as it has been steadily *increasing* despite their efforts), but the increased spite of the crowds against them, forming political pirate parties, releasing free movies and music, supporting the other side, a Free Culture readily waiting to expand on the expense of the old obsolete and inefficient world that RIAA and MPAA represent today.

What can we conclude from this? The more they are gripping their hands the more will slip from them! They are already loosing and they themselves end up being the ones accelerating their loss as they grip to save the future for themselves. The only thing keeping them up where they are, keeping their influence and power over those who can still be fooled, is the power they've accumulated in the past, not power they are accumulating in the present, because that is slipping away as people who've passed their propaganda, people who choose and think for themselves, are becoming their enemies.

The future? The future will be ours, not theirs. Free Software and Free Culture will prevail, simply because people like to be treated with respect, not as cash cows and criminals.

Thank you

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Talking of typos!


Don't you have spell check? Admittedly "waisted" would not be picked up.
Please try to spell! It helps the reader to understand the context.



I think you guys might find

I think you guys might find this video interesting:

It seems IBM agrees with Novell that GNU/Linux is ready. Smiling

It starts to sound like a pretty much official conclusion. Eye

Btw, for those who don't want to install flash for good reasons you can use a program called youtube-dl to download youtube videos.

Here's another one by

Here's another one by Novell: Smiling

Microsoft - evil but unstoppable


"This considered, advanced users mean alot for keeping a market share of a certain operating system. They are basically the anchor..."

Microsoft's anchor has always been hardware vendors. As long as Microsoft keeps paying hardware vendors to install Windows on the computers they sell, then computer users who don't know any better will use it. I was one of the lucky ones to have bought my computer from a vendor who doesn't make me buy Windows with it. So unless the advanced user you're talking about owns a computer store, they aren't going to be a big influence.

"The more they are gripping their hands the more will slip from them!"

Microsoft's hand gripping seems to be working:

Microsoft has been stealing alot of the social positives of GNU/Linux. For example, if Microsoft gives out a piece of software for free (such as Windows Live Messenger and Windows Defender) then they will advertise it as if to say 'Hey! We're not so bad. We're giving out free software just like GNU/Linux!' A Microsoft developer, 'Leah' says in her blog "I know you know this, because we’ve been over it before, but it doesn’t hurt to say it again: Free is good." in an attempt to promote (read: 'sell') Windows Live Messegner.

Also, if you go to you should notice that Microsoft is attempting to create an open-source atmosphere where users can try out new software. shows they are also trying to connect developers to users via blogs, videos etc, in the same way open source development would have developers and users conversing. To battle GNU/Linux, they want development to be as open-source as possible, without actually opening the source.

Microsoft's revenue stream is still strong, and as long as they have the money to, they will steal everything from GNU/Linux just like they have with software vendors in the past (see Criticism of Microsoft). Only this time, their stealing from YOU.


Hi. I came across this article from a link at Free Software Magazine. (This post, by Bridget Kulakauskas.)

Interesting article here and I appreciate Danijel's optimism about Free Software and Free Culture. I agree that they will prevail, it's just a question of when. Will it be sooner, or later, after a DRM and patent-stifled dark age?

I hesitate to publicly classify myself as an "advanced" user (even if I firmly believe it privately!), but I have been using Windows for quite a while and am comfortable with installing and administering it. I'm one of those people that are wanting to move to GNU/Linux. I've tried several times over the years but inertia has gotten the better of me so far. (Unsubtle promotion: I'm currently trying again, though, and am writing about this in my blog, 'Moving to Freedom', at And at FSM. :-))

While I certainly promote free software to "non-choosing" kinds of people I know, even if I was competent in using GNU/Linux I would have some reservations about getting them to use GNU/Linux. Are they willing to deal with hardware challenges caused by lack of drivers or whatnot? For example, "Why doesn't [Product X] work on this new operating system you've installed for me? I really need [Product X]." Where Product X might be software or a hardware device. There may or may not be substitutes that they can use. For myself, I'm prepared to make many tradeoffs to get to a free OS and free applications. Others may not be. (Unless we can convince them why they should, of course.) For example, there is someone I know who is very technical and informed about these issues but is held up from completely switching over because he can't find a free financial program that integrates with his bank.

I know these things can be overcome if we continue to have the freedom to make software that interoperates, but this is where my fear of a drm/dmca/patent dark age comes in. The companies threatened by free software have money today to buy politicians and laws protecting their monopolies.

Anyway, I'm glad Bridget pointed to This looks like a good place for someone like me who is wanting to make the move.

To the above two posters

2. Your techincal friend should blame his bank, for they're the ones that don't give Free Software authors the information they need.


Right. He's not blaming anything on GNU/Linux. It's just one of the challenges of moving over to the right side of The Force, that some things are not not possible with free software or are difficult because of the lack of open standards and support. These might be things that some of us can dismiss or work around, but others will look at it differently. My friend is even aware of some banks in Europe that work with free software, so he knows very well where to place the blame.

Hello and welcome aboard

Hello and welcome aboard Scott!

I've just read that article by Bridget and I love it. She's making a good point and in a rather fun way. Things change and they always will. Those who don't adapt eventually die. The point many missed, and which Bridged made, is that kids (yes the future of the world) are living to be more and more technology literate, meaning there will be less and less of people who fear certain things about technology as some people do today. Many of the future kids will be tinkerers, not afraid of the command line, not afraid of the source code and not afraid to look beyond the surface.

Scott, you mention the dark age of DRM and patents. Well, even if they manage to win a few battles and cause some damage I don't think they can stop the tide which we ride against them, the tide of times changing, the tide that brings the future and buries the past.

As for you switching to GNU/Linux it seems like you just hesitate in fear of certain glitches. Alot of us have had glitches, especially those who switched early, but with enough motivation it can be done. And today with GNU/Linux distributions like Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Fedora etc. getting quite a bit easy to set up and use as well as supporting a huge amount of devices (no drivers installation needed) I think you might find it easier than you think.

Just do it man! Smiling It doesn't hurt.. in a contrary!

And if you do need any help you've assumed right that this is a good place for people who want to move, we'll help as much as we can. Smiling


Watch that spellchecker,

Watch that spellchecker, libervisco...
Bridget vs Bridged... a very subtle difference Laughing out loud .

Oops sorry, fixed that.

Oops sorry, fixed that. Smiling

no you didn't well yes, you

no you didn't Eye
well yes, you did, but only once of >= twice.