...you are a high up executive in Microsoft and have been tasked with undermining the Linux OS and its free software. You must devise the strategy. You have a sizeable war chest to fight your corner and plenty of programming expertise to call on. The PR battle must be won. Underhanded means are quite OK, as long as they do not backfire. How do you go about your task?
See Also: HowToQuashMicrosoft WhyLinux EveryOsSucks
I'll have a go:
It's vital to maintain the existing status quo, where most PCs ship with a windows variant. I'd work with the manufacturers of hardware, and especially intel, to come up with ever more esoteric interfaces to hardware that increase the delay between a windows driver being stable and available and a Linux driver being ready. I'd get an inhouse paper on 'what linux device driver developers are bad at' written so we can pinpoint what strategies to use here.
I'd like there to be many many Linux viruses out there, not just the Raman virus, and so give the lie to the idea that Linux is more 'bullet proof' than windows. Obviously we can't be seen to be promoting this, but I could do this by indirect means.
I'd want to continue the divide and conquer in the Linux distributions. SuseLinux
to me looks a more serious threat than RedHatLinux
, so I'd ensure that Microsoft executives who talk to the press refer to RedHatLinux
(where a 'brand' is mentioned) rather than to SuseLinux
. This will help boost redhat by giving it more column inches, and help maintain a 'no clear winner' in the linux world situation.
On a lobbying and PR front I'd want politicians and programmers to know that free software is undermining the software industry, a key economic growth engine
. I'm particularly interested in winning hearts and minds of the more mature experienced programmers, who maybe have settled down and have families and commitments and care more about financial security, than winning over the headstrong young things used to living on a student grant. If Linux gets tarred with the brush of being written by inexperienced kids... we could be on to a winning strategy..
True - WillOpenSourceUndermineTheAmericanEconomy
Easy one this. Keep them out of business by appealing to the fears of "the management". Same way IBM stopped Hitachi selling compatible mainframes in the US "it was built by Japanese you know".
So we could say "the code was built in an insecure environment which was purposely made available to hackers. Are you willing to bet your company that those anonymous hackers didn't include one bad guy, one back door?" . Oh yes, conveniently ignore the fact that you are a bad guy and you built several backdoors into your software :).
On the one hand get up in front of the Press and repeatedly tell them that Open Source Software is A BAD THING
since it's an unsustainable economic model, will run out of steam, and ultimately stifle innovation in the software marketplace - and isn't that what Microsoft's all about, innovating for the benefit of the 'Merican consumer?
On the other hand provide incentives
for the manufacturers of PCs to reveal the identities of their clients who are purchasing Microsoft-free boxes. Just so there can be an evaluation
of the numbers of boxes being shipped to organizations who have somehow been mistaken in their interpretation of the MS licensing requirements. <whisper>we want to help them avoid violating their licenses y'know
</whisper> And then sent to software theft police to the houses of those very same purchasers late at nite to confiscate ALL
their equipment because they can't possibly NOT
be violating at least one MS license and are therefore subject to the full penalty of law. (thanks, Pink)
Well that's pretty dumb, as im sure you are aware there are other operating systems in existence which somebody might wish to install on their "windowsless box"
When Linux is outlawed, only outlaws will have Linux.
If Linux were outlawed the prices for distros would line the pockets of those who made it illegal. ;)
I'd buy out a BIOS manufacturer (Phoenix, ATI, etc.) and immediately produce a new version of BIOS, and make it freely available to PC manufacturers. A version that will only boot "approved" operating systems.
Or is that what Palladium is?
Nah, that'd be an automatic anti-trust lawsuit and you'd probably lose and be laughed at by all your friends.
Don't quash it; embrace and extend it.
- Buy an established Linux distributor.
- Throw an army of programmers at it to make it look and feel better than any other Linux distribution. Pay special attention to installations, configuration and device drivers.
- Add useful extensions and patent the hell out of them.
- Build useful apps that rely heavily on your patented extensions.
- Attract Linux customers with a low introductory price.
- Gradually raise the price to recoup your investment.
--- This is what Apple has done with OSX! (Yes, I know BSD isn't Linux, but it's pretty close.) JasonGrossman
And in the process, have a small research division cannibalize your company's entire product base. Nice.
Huh ? I don't care which product people buy, as long as they buy it from me.
<sarcasm>Putting a chicklet keyboard on the IBM PCjr to keep it from canibalizing sales from other divisions was sure a winning strategy, huh ?</sarcasm>
Digital had the fastest, most powerful CPUs in existence. It also had two product lines. The first used their own chip technology to run their own Unix. The second used Intel chips to run Windows. Can you guess that the first was by far the more lucrative? Despite this, Digital's sales department held to the egalitarian view you propose. Since then, Digital was acquired by Compaq and the AlphaPC chip technology is dead.