This was published on Multiply Nov. 8, 10:26 A.M.
But why Linux? Why not Mac OS X? Maybe because, from the start, MS recognized Apple for not being a threat in its monopoly.
As we all know, Windows and Mac OS X are proprietary software, i.e. you have to pay for them. Other systems such as Unix was also proprietary and considered as for-servers-only OS, as well as BSD.
The introduction of Linux by Linus Torvalds during the 90s didn’t evoke threatening reactions to the majority of the computing community because it then was considered to be too cryptic to use for everyday work. In fact, it was only described as a power toy. But with the boom of the Linux desktop, lead by the companies Canonical (who produces Ubuntu and its variants), Novell (which produces SuSe and OpenSuSe), and RedHat (which produces RedHat Linux and Fedora), Linux became more of a power toy into a very usable operating system threatening the dominance of Microsoft, and somewhat of Apple.
As we can see, Apple has been constantly eating up Microsoft’s market share (though not significantly large), mainly due to the coolness of Macs and the (in)famous Mac vs. PC ads (MS said that these ads have affected their industry, so they are pushing with their own “I’m a PC” ads.). But a new breed of people wanting and willing to free themselves from “the MS tax” are experimenting and delving in with the intricacies of Linux (any distribution applies), and are also loving it, forming a community that is tightly bonded (not physically of course) and screaming for a revolution.
And one such person is me.
So why is MS afraid of us, and Linux as a whole, considering that the current market share is below Apple?
We can see that *nix has been a success in the server field, which MS now enters boldly prepared for battle (I don’t know if Apple has also entered the arena; please correct me if I’m wrong). But maybe what MS is afraid of is that Linux has been also eating a part (though somewhat insignificant) of its market share.
IMO, this is the current situation:
1. MS is dominating the desktop market, as we all know.
2. There are people out there who are willing to fork out additional money in order to acquire a cool Mac, either the OS or the hardware (anyway, these two are usually together).
3. There are users who just want an inexpensive OS, just want to try something new, poor (sorry for that; it happens), an anti-piracy advocate, or an irritated MS user, so they switch to Linux. There are also Linux fanboys, developers and programmers who use Linux.
4. Mac OS X is very successful in the laptop market.
5. Linux is also a success in the netbook and subnetbook markets because of its low system requirements.
6. Apple is very successful in launching its iPhone, and as Steve Jobs himself said, it is their own netbook.
7. Google’s G1 phone is also a success (though not as flashy as the iPhone), and it runs Android. However, Android is Linux-based, with a modified version of the Java Virtual Machine called Dalvik that lets you run Android-only apps (you cannot run Linux-native apps yet as of now).
8. Linux, Unix, Solaris and BSD and its variants have been successful in the server market (MS also wants its share), as evidenced by Apache and LAMP (
9. The failure of Vista encouraged the computing public to look for Linux and Mac OS X as alternatives, or sticking with Windows XP until Windows 7 comes out sometime this 2010.
As we can see, MS is REALLY in trouble if they don’t do something.
That’s only in market share. However, given the current situation, this is not-so-important.
What does make Linux special a contender as to frighten Microsoft too much? (maybe frighten is too strong a word)
1. Linux, and open-source, is free in general. I do think this is the most significant argument, as people in general don’t really care about EULAs. This is also one of the main reasons why Linux netbooks are a lot cheaper than their Windows counterparts. Just read this article for more.
2. Linux is secure an operating system. This is also been said of Macs, which are based on BSD from the beginning. However, Vista has somewhat significantly reduced the gap in terms of security, with its MSRT (Malicious Software Removal Tool) and the very irritating UAC (User Account Control).
3. Linux supports older hardware than Windows. We all know the trend: every time MS releases a new OS, they force the user to upgrade the hardware. Its been very evident in Vista. OTOH, Linux still and continues to support older hardware while delivering modern and bleeding-edge technology, and it only shows that more can be done for less.
4. Linux is fully customizable. Though the three OSes are customizable, Linux offers the greatest flexibility, again showing that more can be done for less as most of these customizations can be done without installing additional software.
5. Software Freedom. Here in UP Diliman, it is propagated by UnPLUG (University of the Philippines Linux Users Group). It is also evident when the world celebrates Software Freedom Day.
Well, I think that’s it. I do think MS IS afraid of Linux in that it is considered as somewhat MS’ nemesis. Haven’t you noticed that there is no version of MS Office available for Linux? But Macs have a MS Office version.
And now, they are blocking Linux users from accessing HotMail.
Comments from Multiply: