Summary: How Microsoft is trying to marginalise GNU/Linux and the extent to which demoralising lies are used as a tool
AN EFFECTIVE TOTALITARIAN regime operates by identifying sources of existing dissent (or brewing dissent) and then eliminating them. Microsoft works very similarly and its so-called "Linux Heat Map" is indication of this. The company maintains a sort of “battle map” which tells the company where attacks against GNU/Linux ought to be coordinated and which large-scale migrations predatory targeted. We saw a lot of this recently and a notable old example is South Africa.
This is not affecting only GNU/Linux and Free software. Microsoft has been trying to suppress its competition at childhood phases for as long as it has held a dominant market position. We already have a partial list of projects/companies that Microsoft strangled at birth, but the strategy strategy can work against commercial entities with finite resources, not against Free software. It’s proving frustrating to Microsoft.
It’s clearly born of ignorance about what is really being offered – lock-in to Microsoft’s systems – in the naive belief that touch-screens are somehow the future, probably just because the iPhone has one.
It is born of arrogance that the government knows better, and therefore needn’t consult with others that might have a view or – heaven forfend – knowledge on the subject.
And it’s born of sheer stupidity, throwing away the huge lead that Spain had in this area, forcing local governments that had saved money by opting for GNU/Linux to waste money on an unnecessary and doubtless insecure solution from Microsoft, and as a result making the country dependent on a foreign supplier when it could have nurtured its own domestic software industry.
Microsoft is doing the same thing in Russia right now, so Slashdot has this update which says: “No [Fedora-based] Russian Operating System, At Least For Now”
“The project by 27 Russian parties to develop a National Operating System for Russia has not taken off, yet (Russian). Ilya Ponomarev, the responsible technology committee chair in the Duma, received a negative response from the government. The government argues that the project and Open Standards would not impact the society and economy. Parliament members regret the setback for Russia’s digital independence. Ponomarev wants to find other interested partners in the Government now.”
This says nothing about what Microsoft has just done, despite the fact that the cited article has a photo of Steve Ballmer. According to Microsoft’s “Linux Heat Map”, Russia is one of the leading countries in terms of GNU/Linux uptake. Needless to say, so-called Web statistics from Microsoft-sponsored entities are hiding all this by measuring adoption of GNU/Linux using hostile methods or biased populations (data sets). We wrote about the "1% market share" lie just a couple of days ago and we urge people never to propagate this lie or else it would become complacently true in the minds of many people, ISVs included. Here is an interesting new press release (also found here):
The percentage of Linux users among the MEDUSA4 Personal audience varies significantly from country to country, and totals approximately 35%. While in Germany, the top download location, about 13% of users work with Linux, in Italy, the second largest download group, Linux users outnumber Windows users by nearly three to one.
This shows that populations play a huge role.
In the first three days of May we received over 96,000 pageviews (excluding bots, by AWStats’ definition). This includes a Friday, a Saturday, and a Sunday, which means it’s mostly weekend traffic.
Among those requests, 50.4% came from “Linux”, 38.7% came from “Windows”, 5% came from “Macintosh” and some of the rest could not be parsed properly although search engines or other familiar bots are not being counted by AWStats. █
“There’s a lot of Linux out there — much more than Microsoft generally signals publicly — and their customers are using it…”
–Paul DeGroot, a Directions On Microsoft analyst