- Capitalism and Alternatives -

It's simple; Microsoft acted as if the community didn't exist.

Posted by: Farinata ( L'inferno ) on November 17, 1999 at 13:46:11:

In Reply to: Excellent posting Farinata posted by Quincunx on November 17, 1999 at 10:15:45:

: Thanks for responding. It's great to see when I'm corrected legitimately for a change instead of the usual pro-capitalist flame tactics.

It's not even correction, really; I just think that corporate America is still too entrenched in their views of Microsoft as a "goose that laid the golden egg" to try and harm them.

: Qx: That is most likely the case but if Ms doesn't have a production operating system for a 64bit windows debut then they are definitely in trouble.

True. MS's original mission statement in producing NT was to make a version of Windows that would run on any type of machine, not just an Intel PC, but also a RISC Unix box and the like. They have failed rather badly in this; they just can't afford the manpower it would take to produce NT for all of the various processor types; and have thus announced that Windows 2000 will only be developed for CISC x086 (Intel) chips; abandoning development for things like the Digital Alpha chip, the Sparc chip and so forth.

Microsoft's only avenue in the 64-bit arena is Itanium (a.k.a. Merced); and their development has been haphazard there; you can see an article on Slashdot from last August showing how far behind they were then.

It's worth noting that Linux (an open-source community effort) has beaten Microsoft to the punch on 64-bit processors; Linux was the first operating system that would compile and run on Itanium chips, as well as being the first operating system that would compile and run on the 64-bit Alpha chip. You can see an article from yesterday's Register that notes that the first 16-way clustered Itanium box is running Linux. You can also see an article from Monday's news which notes that 512-CPU Linux supercomputers are being developed in the Department of Energy's labs at Argonne.

(No-one has yet succeeded in making NT or Win2K run a 512-CPU box! - or even a scaled cluster like Beowulf.)

: MS doesn't have a lot of time in the eyes of some. The fact that Intel has already announced it is officially supporting the linux operating system is seen as evidence of that. IBM has announced much the same thing and so have many other companies.

Microsoft has been so focussed on competition and maximising Microsoft's revenues that it has alienated a lot of the companies it works with; Microsoft has behaved in a manner analogous to the rugged individualist - insisting that they don't need anyone else and that there is no such thing as community. They are now finding out exactly how wrong they were; many of the companies they have bullied and threatened over the past few years are now backing Linux; and Linux is a higher-quality operating system than anything Microsnot have ever produced.

In a way, I'm almost sorry that Judge Jackson ruled as he did. While MS's effective monopoly on desktop OSes is pretty much indisputable, the omens show that MS is shortly going to collapse under its own weight anyway.

What a way for a capitalist standard-bearer like Microsoft to go out; outcompeted by a benign anarchy built on non-profit lines and ideals; anti-copyright and sharing; open software and the limiting of "intellectual property".

For all the "competition breeds toughness" rhetoric, a decentralized bunch of programmers hacking code for fun have produced an OS that can simply outcompete and outevolve anything Microsoft have ever produced.

Never underestimate the power of a community, basically.

: In the opinions of many, Linux on 64-bit INTEL, is the server of the future. Is this a likely scenario?

Entirely so. Compaq and SCO are also working on Tru-64 and IBM is working on Project Monterey; but closed-source companies are beginning to look like dinosaurs in the software world; the production of computer software is coming to resemble scientific research, with the emphasis on freely shared knowledge and peer review.


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