: : Except that the 'net runs on Unix (or the vast majority of it does)
: Ah, so Unix must be a competitor of Microsoft. And, if there's a competitor, then Microsoft must not be a monopoly after all. I'm glad that's cleared up.
Actually, before Windows NT came along, Microsoft tended to stick entirely to the PC. Big servers ran operating systems like Unix, VMS, ITS or other operating systems. There were several competing flavours of Unix; namely AIX (from IBM), SCO UNIX (from Santa Cruz Operations), IRIX (from Silicon Graphics), OSF/1 (from DEC) and Solaris/SunOS (from Sun). No one company had anything like an exclusive monopoly.
When Microsoft released NT 4 back in 1996, they targeted Unix; their advertising tried to portray NT as the only server OS you'd ever need; they portrayed it as having a lower "total cost of ownership" than the commercial flavours of Unix above; they tried to make strategic deals with manufacturers that limited them to NT only on servers and Windows 9x on clients.
This has resulted in the effective death of OSF/1, IRIX, AIX, and the older OSes such as VMS; reducing the server market to a straight fight between Unix and NT; MS has been trying to force NT into all the markets it can, despite strong evidence that NT will not handle big enterprise servers as well as Unix can.
Much of the backbone architecture of the 'net runs on Unix. Microsoft is doing their level best to change this with a substandard server OS and heavy saturation marketing.
Servers aren't clients, though; the actual desktop PC has run a Microsoft OS by default ever since Windows 3.1 was brought out. To try and claim that Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly on the everyday home PC is, I'm afraid, stupid and ignorant of the actual evidence. Like I said, try buying a preassembled PC with anything that isn't Windows 95, 98 or NT loaded. You can't; 99% of the PCs sold have one of those 3 OSes on; all of which come from the same customer.
: : Isn't there something rather ironic about a follower of the free market defending an obvious monopoly like Microsoft?
: Oh no. Microsoft is a monopoly after all? I'm so confused.
See above. If you were slightly more informed, you wouldn't be confused.
: : The more people you have looking at code, the more likely you are to find bugs and fix them. Linux has ten times as many people looking at bugs as Microsoft can ever afford;
: Ah, sounds like yet another competitor of Microsoft is flourishing. So, Microsoft must not be a monopoly after all!
No. See my above point. The only reason that Linux has gotten as far as it has is because it's free. Like, no money - if that isn't an impossible concept for you to grasp. As such, Microsoft cannot undercut it on price and ship in volume to dealers; so their only tactics are to try and spread disinformation about Linux, to try and force PC manufacturers into restrictive deals and to try and pollute previously "open" standards like Java and HTML until they will only run properly on Microsoft products. They call it "embrace and extend"; try feeding that phrase into a search engine like Google and see what comes out.
(What you'll probably get are the Hallowe'en Documents; an internal Microsoft memo that got out - about how they planned to force Linux out of the market.)
: : And yet, as a free-market fan, you support a monopoly?
: Um, wait a minute. Somebody's thinking here must be pretty fuzzy...
Yeah. Yours. It arises from your imperfect understanding of a) computing and b) the client-server model.
: : "In an article originally published in Linux Journal (issue 46), Daryll Strauss, a software engineer at Digital Domain, describes the use of GNU/Linux in generating visual effects for the film Titanic.
: Yikes! Here it is again! This same poster alternates between calling Microsoft a monopoly and asserting that competitors of Microsoft are flourishing.
. Linux is free - got that yet?
If you want to see what would happen to commercial competitors, look at what happened to OS/2 and DR-DOS; both of which have been marginalised; not by quality of software, but by Microsoft's "exclusive" deals with manufacturers and Microsoft's ability to undercut and ship Windows in volume due to Microsoft's size. Even you should be able to fathom the idea of "economy of scale".
: Ah, to be a socialist again. Ignorance and the fuzziest of thinking were truly bliss...
...so you decided to take them up on a permanent basis, eh?