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SubjectRe: [OFFTOPIC]: MS Porting Office to Linux?
In message <95A312CD1D10D2119B4600A0C9D17F7C02A3D264@ma-atl02.manhattanassociat>, Prasanna Subash writes:
| >>>This is our land, they must play by OUR rules.
| I really hope that its true. Remember, M$ had no market share, in
| the web browser market, and yet it was almost able to sideline Netscape. Its

Ah, but Netscape plays by largely the same rules Microsoft does: business
and marketing rules. The Linux world dances to a different tune, and
Microsoft can't do much to affect the core of Linux because that core can't
be "put out of business" (because we're not *in* business!).

They could conceivably make trouble for the acceptance of Linux in the
business world, granted. I don't consider it too likely, because it's
*exactly* that kind of manipulation that brought Linux to the attention of
business users as an alternative; as a result, given that Linux itself can't
be seriously hurt by such manipulation, all Microsoft can really accomplish
by such is garnering more bad press (and more defections) for itself.

If it were merely that Linux can be obtained for free, Microsoft might be a
problem... but go look at all the articles in the mainstream computer press
examining open source/free software from a business perspective. They may
not entirely "get it", but they *do* get that we're not a possible target for
nasty business dealings in the traditional sense because we simply don't work
that way.

If you want to worry about what Microsoft might do to cause serious problems
for Linux, go reread Bourne's paper about putting back doors in login with
the help of a tweaked compiler. But IMHO even that is unlikely, to the
extent that both gcc/egcs code and any potential target for such back doors
are open and can therefore be audited if there were any suspicion of it
happening. It'd be a big job, but it could be done... and because of that
open code, nothing stops us from comparing e.g. suspect gcc source against a
known-clean earlier version to simplify the job.

Microsoft quite simply can't apply its usual methods (said methods showing as
little innovation as their products :) against Linux. Whether they can come
up with something new in time to have any serious effect is an open question,
but from Microsoft's track record to date I consider it fairly unlikely.

brandon s. allbery [os/2][linux][solaris][japh]
system administrator [WAY too many hats]
carnegie mellon / electrical and computer engineering KF8NH
We are Linux. Resistance is an indication that you missed the point.

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