Shrinks Calling Microsoft

An interesting article on The Register about the flood of “we funded this study but that doesn’t matter because it proves windows is better than linux” that Microsoft has sent out lately. Taken with the grain of salt that Register articles must always be taken with, they have a point. There was some discussion a while back about how Microsoft was going to the various Linux shows and expos to “educate” people, because they believed that they were not choosing MS because they didn’t know all the facts.

Reading some of the weblogs in the .net and MS circle, that seems quite true. Several posts on various MS oriented weblogs mocked linux with “how can you ever make money if you give your software away.” I’m wondering if it’s not the other way around. Maybe MS should be educated about how it all works. Maybe the idea that instead of creating a software “widget” and selling it, you can build a bigger “widget” out of open source software (which has the source code available) and then seling that is an alternative. Or selling support.

I make my living now coding Perl with Mason on Apache and mod_perl (all free, open source projects) to create a portal type system that is used to entice the selling of physical widgets. I used to work at a company which created a hardware firewall project that used Linux and the Linux firewall and VPN systems at it’s core. Why not use Microsoft? Cost I think, plain and simple. No having to pay for $1,000 (at least) for the devloper tools, for the Embedded Windows licenses, for the Client Access Licenses, and whatever else that Microsoft would no doubt have made us use. Oh, and the security, I shudder with pity for anyone running IIS these days.

Silverstr is doing windows development and is finding (not always pleasently) about the costs associated. Because he’s dickering around in low level stuff he has to buy the extra-super-nifty low level developer kit, which is another $N,000. I belive at one point he paid $500 or $1,000 for a DVD which included the same code from several years ago and as a teaching resource, a handycam of a 199X developer talk or something. Oh, you want access to the whole API Mr. Str? Sorry, the hidden stuff is for us alone.

I understand that this is how Microsoft makes money. I understand that they are trying to protect the software model that they’ve had for the last 30 years (though the new “pay us each year for software that you don’t own” thing is new. I understand that that’s why Linux, or at least the idea of linux scares the hell out of them.

Maybe a trip to Redmond to educate some of the Microsoft developers about why the linux software (and business) model is different (not necessarily better) is in order.

Of course, you’re not going to change peoples minds, so why bother. I’ll continue what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years thankyouverymuch.

3 Comments on “Shrinks Calling Microsoft”

  1. Or that his snap-on tools must be upgraded, whether needed or not every few years, or that the orginal spanner purchased has a critical flaw in it that must be fixed, and ooops, found another flaw…..(sorry for the rant, but we’ve spent the better part of last week clearing the f**kng Nachi worm from our network, and just found out there is another similar vulnerability….)

  2. Ya, the tally for software is quite nuts. If you tally the combo of MSDN Universal, and the IFS Kit its almost $5200. I paid $1600 alone for the low level Windows Server 2003 DDK/IFS DVD, and most of it is really crappy video shots of conferences 5 years ago.
    What’s worse is that this doesn’t even give you the right to use the stuff in a production environment. As an example, the MSDN subscription gives you OS CALS for development, but if you are going to run any of your code in a production environment, you need to buy a separate license for the stuff. When you are a small ISV like me… thats just nuts. Which is why my production servers are still running Linux. It is way to expense to buy Exchange, SQL server, the server OS and all the trimmings at the stage of my company. Plus I don’t really need it. So I live with just buying the workstation OS, and using vmware for testing, where the MSDN developer CALs make sense.
    I make my living off this stuff, so I can’t complain too much about buying tools. It’s like a mechanic who needs to buy his snap-on tools. Major difference is he can keep his tools for 10 years, and isn’t told that “that spanner can only be used to learn on the car, and you will have to buy this spanner if you wish to fix cars and take money for it”. 🙂

  3. Plus he has a lifetime warrenty on the tools. It breaks, they will replace it. (wouldn’t that be nice if MS said, well we won’t fix problems with NT, but here is your copy of 2000 which we still support instead?)