Vista and GNU/Linux
Hard times for Microsoft in the press, especially because of Windows Vista and those ‘siblings’ which came with it (e.g. Server 2008 and Home Server). It backfires badly and gives ever-rising attraction to GNU/Linux. John Spencer wrote the following article.
I am happy to say Microsoft has run square into the self same unfamiliarity problem with Vista and Office 2007. They are a bit too different to the ‘finished work’ without offering any must-have extras.
It gets even harder for Microsoft when even official Governmental bodies like BECTA advise the public sector procurers not to change. Ironically this stricture appears not to apply to other Government organisations in education such as the QCA (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority) who have clearly more money than sense.
Microsoft though has enough clout to follow alternative strategies for persuading its customers to change when they show signs of dragging their feet. The most obvious is by not allowing vendors to install XP on new machines and making sure lots of stuff, bit by bit, won’t work on the old machines (allegedly).
The Open Source world in contrast with its plethora of cool Linux distributions and manifest lack of clout (on the desktop) only has the ‘hey that’s a cool desktop – I must change’ strategy to fall back on and that’s a pretty weak opener in the desktop wars.
Why indeed would one now change desktops, why in the past were we so willing, eager even, to do just that and now are so reluctant?
Also in the news:
Inquirer: Vista suffers a dose of Linuxitis
1. [noun] – an affliction of the Operating System, whose only symptom is that the OS has problems in being accepted by the masses. This symptom, in turn, is caused by insufficient support from the developer community, especially the entertainment sector 2. linuxite [adj.] – not being hip enough, applicable to an OS. Etymology: the word has its roots in Linux’ long hard road towards popularity, but in the very recent history Linux started to overcome this affliction.
Linux Loop: Microsoft’s Biggest Weakness
In many ways, Microsoft has little to worry about, at least not for now. Sure, they are losing market share steadily, but for their lead to be toppled it would take years and years, or would it?
Microsoft’s agreements with major OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) such as Dell and HP are highly confidential (which is a warning sign in itself), but by most accounts, the agreements give Microsoft a lot of power over these OEMs. This is part of what gives Microsoft so much power. As long as OEMs continue to sell Windows exclusively, which Microsoft essentially ensures with their agreements, they have a large part of the market all to themselves. These strangle-hold agreements may also be a weakness, though.
Crunch Gear: Microsoft’s Vista armor starting to fade
HP denies that they are making an OS to rival Vista, but, they do acknowledge that they are developing software that would bypass some of its functions altogether. HP formed the “customer experience” group nine months ago in an effort to give customers a quick and easy alternative to certain applications. The team is focusing on touchscreen technology where users can watch movies or view pictures.
The last few weeks has seen a steady increase in the number of rumours about the Windows Vista operating system and the potential for new operating systems to hit the market over the next couple of years. The latest rumours relate to a suggestion that Hewlett Packard (HP) is on the verge of beginning work on a new Linux based operating system which they hope will eventually compete in the open market with Windows Vista. Fact or fiction?
Microsoft even went so far recently as to mask Vista as a new operating system called Mojave, and showed people’s reaction on hidden camera. Apparently, people who claimed they wouldn’t buy Vista were wowed by it when they saw it in action under a different name. The blind taste test might work for soft drinks, but there’s more to an operating system than a quick taste. Let’s let these people live with Vista for a few weeks, then record their reactions. Something tells me it wouldn’t be very flattering.
Until Microsoft starts listening to young people and creating products and services that simply work, and that means no crashes, no blue screens, and a dead simple user interface, it will not surprise me that a melancholy mood will hang over Microsoft, and its share price.
Microsoft sure drew the ire of some of some mainstream press, which is rare.
After a ten year stint at Microsoft, where amongst other tasks he oversaw the launch of the Asian windows Vista, Kenneth Lundin has made a move to Momail.
Here is the irony of a Microsoft executive bemoaning and striving to address spin in the media, having come from a company that controls and restrains the media through actual ownership.
Republican convention delegates, liberal bloggers, lipstick-wearing hockey moms and anarchists unite: Rooting out media bias is now just a mouse click away.
Hoping to invite news consumers behind the information-gathering curtain, a Seattle entrepreneur and former Microsoft executive has created a new user-driven Web tool he claims helps track media spin.
Speaking of bias or advertising, the (MS)NBC, which we criticised before, is still paying constant lip service to Microsoft. Case of point from the news: Microsoft Surface headlining on MSNBC (with video)
It smells like a commercial more than an actual report.
Security and Privacy
The hundreds of millions of zombie PCs — and particularly their respective users out there — deserve an explanation, one which may be the ease at which Windows viruses can be created and replicated. Anti-virus software has become snake oil. NewsWeek reports:
If college students can beat the best antivirus programs, why do people spend nearly $5 billion a year on them?
Zombie PCs give a tremendous rise to DDoS attacks and SPAM. The impact of the flood of SPAM (well over 100 billion per day) may lead to erosion of privacy on the World Wide Web, which is a shame because it’s caused by the insecurities of one particular operating system.
Finding ways to limit DoS attacks and SMS spam by making it harder to spoof the origin of electronic communications is on the agenda at a telecommunications standards meeting next week — but civil rights advocates worry it could put an end to anonymity on the Internet.
Glyn Moody has just explained the importance of Web anonymity and this new study suggests that privacy is very important to people — far more important than data harvester conveniently choose to believe.
Pew’s study found that 68% of people who use Web mail or other Web data storage services would be “very concerned” if companies analyzed their information to display advertisements close to their interests. Another 19% said they would be “somewhat concerned.”
[Microsoft] Needs to phone home but keeps it short
Microsoft has outlined the CSS extensions whose support has changed in IE 8. These extensions, all prefixed with “-ms-” can be divided into two groups. The first group is to support the work in progress, CSS 3.
Potential… to Lose One’s Freedom
“Unlimited Potential”, a codename for the fight against Free software, is once again rearing its ugly head and targeting the already-exploited African population.
Microsoft channel manager for East and Southern Africa (ESA), David Ndung’u, said the price reduction was in line with the aim of Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential programme, which wants to make technology more accessible to those at the middle and bottom of the world’s economic pyramid.
They sure try to get poor students addicted and locked in.
GLOBAL software giant Microsoft is planning to increase volumes for its wide range of products, among them the Microsoft Office and Student 2007, in Zimbabwe.
On Thursday September 11, I — like many of my IM contacts around the world — couldn’t sign into Live Messenger for a number of hours.
Another day, another downtime. █