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<snip Fool="derekanquilm">
Unless Linux is leaps and bounds more consumer friendly than Windows, and I haven't used it myself, they will lose the game because they are competing on simply price, which won't work. I love Windows and see it as a tough task to switch a nation in love with Microsoft to Red Hat. But Stranger things have happened, and if Microsoft doesn't play there cards right, I guess it could be conceivable
</snip>

Reading posts like this, I find myself questioning my investment in RHAT, which is really just a manifestation of my belief in the future direction of computing. But for some reason, I refuse to buy into this MS has won, quit tilting at windmills dogma.

There are slogans out there ("Think Different", "think out side the box", "paradigm shift" come to mind) that many people mouth (myself included) without focusing on what they really mean. The stock market is a reflection of this. People are jumping into companies based on buzz not fundamentals. Most traders/investors are not rocket scientists, yet the companies they are buying into are based on rocket science. <urban legend>Most VCR displays are flashing 12:00</urban legend> Do you seriously think these people (myself included) can give a competent description of the inner workings of (pick one) optical networks, OS kernels, xDSL, wireless broadband, etc. NOT!

You indicated that you love windows. I would ask you: "Have you tried other OSs?" I've worked on mainframes (IBM, Burroughs, Hitachi), superminis (Prime), minis (DEC), workstations (Sun) and PCs (mac and wintel). I say this not to brag, nor to claim that I'm some sort of OS guru. I'm not. Only to provide a frame of reference when I say that I could not use "love" and "windows" in the same sentence (and I'm writing this from an NT box).

Why does Windows dominate? Marketing. And FUD. I've dealt with corporate IT departments for years. There used to be a saying: "No one ever got fired for buying blue" The reference was to IBM. Big iron was king. Along came the PC revolution and IBM's stock tanked. It took the better part of a decade for it to regain it's share price. MS currently holds the NOEGF slot within most corporate IT hierarchies. Why? Because it's the best? No, because its the safest career bet.

You don't have to look very hard to find studies that indicate MS OSs are not the most cost efficient (when support costs are factored in) nor the most secure when it comes to the net. That said, MS did learn something from IBM--service/support is a fundamental priority. I'm not talking consumer here, but corporate. Most corporate IT staff are not "rocket scientists", many are barely competent (I'm sure I'll get flamed for that statement--once again, I recognize that my experiences are just that--Mine). So how do these people get by? MS support. If your corporation is large enough you can count on near instantaneous response from MS.

So why am I not selling my RHAT and buying MS. Five years on the internet. Once again, let me emphasize, I am not a "net guru". You don't have to be to see what's happening. The old line business model is crumbling, the fat is being squeezed out of industry after industry. IMHO you have three choices: ignore it (and find yourself unemployed/out of business in 5 years); fight it or run with it. I have to say that running with it is personally much more rewarding. It's also very dangerous, as there is a lot of money/power behind the "old guard". Apple found this out when it tried to stand up to MS. MS found this out when it took on the government.

Will Linux win? I don't know. There are alot of YOUNG people being introduced to it in much the same way that there were, in previous lifetimes, young people introduced to mainframe OSs, and PCs (mac OR windows). As a MAP (middle aged professional/programmer) I am constantly blown away by what "kids" are doing today. Programming languages are being taught in elementary schools--think about that! These "kids" are not stupid. Get on the Net (not the sanitized/commercialized/glorified BBS that AOL/MSNetwork/Yahoo provides, but the real internet). Look around (click outside the Yahoo/Altavista/Netscape portal). Think!

Oh well, I've wasted enough of your time. You might, if you're inclined to follow up on this, look at Slashdot. They've got an interesting thread on the Amazon/patent dispute. You might compare what Bezos is doing with O'Reilly vs. what MS is doing. It's called dialog with the community!

"Crush your enemy. See them driven before you. And, hear the lamentation of their women" Bill Gates? No, Conan the Barbarian. But Gates was a good guess.

/mike
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