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How to Handle Microsoft's Unhealthy Obsession with GNU/Linux

Isn't knowledge everybody's friend?

It ought to be clear by now that Microsoft has become over-obsessed with Linux, and rightly so. Looking at internal Microsoft documents, it is clear that Microsoft wants Free software (including Linux) dead. We have provided links and text in the past in order to support this assertion. Even filings which are visible to stake holders have had Linux listed as a most major threat to Microsoft's core business.

Microsoft takes no passive stance. It does not pursue further success only by improving its own products. It has already responded with SCO-esque action that involves intimidation, extortion (yes, they secretly charge money for mythical patents), and more.

”Money can change laws, make bigots, and change perceptions.“Since Microsoft is concerned about Linux and also acts intolerably towards its future existence as a free platform, it would only be natural to keep an eye on Microsoft. Not understanding what Microsoft intends to do to Linux and Free software is a case of being completely blind to one's greatest threat. It is a case of exposing oneself. No company other than Microsoft has spent so much time and money fighting Linux (not even SCO).

In reality, not analysing the issues at hands, including the patent strategy, is the path to the destruction of Linux as we know it. Money can change laws, make bigots, and change perceptions. With the recent patent deals, for example, that money is already doing a lot of legwork, so to speak.

As far as mobile devices go (Linux has excellent presence and growth in that area), Microsoft hopes to 'tax' embedded Linux, probably per device unit sold. If Linux will ultimately reign this area, which it will, Microsoft can grab a share of revenue it is not entitled to receive. If the cost of embedded Linux becomes high due such 'taxation', Microsoft can suddenly bring more appeal to its Windows-based offerings. There is a good reason why Microsoft signed cross-licensing deals with 4 companies that produce Linux devices. Microsoft explicitly included Linux in the announcements. This changes perceptions and Microsoft sets precedence this way, without ever requiring to produce any evidence (list of patents, for starters). How overly dishonest and uncomplaining.

So, what is next? A patent deal with supercomputing companies? Linux virtually owns 91.8% of this market (assuming top-tier supercomputers are anything to judge by). Microsoft would love to change this using dirty tricks and unprecedented intervention (Novell's deal was a seminal one).

Microsoft has become morbidly obsessed with Linux. If this relationship is reciprocal, then it is probably justified.


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