This is the mail I sent on foot of last weekends 'Why Microsoft Wins'
It is also under news on the web site for the next few days.
To: The Editor of Computers In Business,
Mr Adrian Weckler,
As PRO of the Irish Linux Users' Group (http://www.linux.ie, I would
like to take this opportunity to congratulate you and your team on well
balanced and objective articles on Linux in your recent "Computers in
Business" supplement. However, I would also like to point out a few
minor misgivings with some of the comments in the 'Why Mic rosoft Wins'
article (which, I appreciate, was written by a Microsoft employee).
Firstly, we in the ILUG welcome the mention of 'Open Standards' based
software. Unfortunately some of the standards currently in use are
anything but open, in fact they serve as de-facto standards locking
users to a particular platform and application suite. 'Open Standards'
can only truly be open if they are published and available to all. This
would mean that in twenty years time, applications could be written so
that they would be able to make use of documents written and stored
today. As an example, anyone who has an MS Word 1.0 document stored in
some off site backup, would do well to be able to retrieve any useful
information from it today. Most applications (including the current
generation office suites) have difficulty opening this format, as it is
completely undocumented outside of Microsoft.
To say that "Linux is a kernel and Windows is a platform" is a game of
semantics. The term "Linux" is more frequently used as a shorthand for
the term "Linux distribution", which is a platform. In fact, most Linux
distributions provide some level of compatibility with a number of
platforms including those from Microsoft. Three of the most popular
Linux distribution companies MandrakeSoft, RedHat and SuSE, have a
corporate presence in Ireland. All of these companies produce boxed set
distributions which can be purchased in many computer stores, at prices
comparable to, (or below,) the equivalent Microsoft offering.
The argument on TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) is a contentious one. It
seems that every other study finds that product A is cheaper than
product B. One should look at the relationship between the independent
adviser and the sponsor of the study, and ensure that like is compared
with like. There is no panacea, only solutions that fit specific
circumstances. The TCO argument falls short for business by leaving out
such items as "systems effectiveness", "business efficiency", and
"business effectiveness", as defined in this interesting on-line
PRO, Irish Linux Users' Group, http://www.linux.ie
Maintained by the ILUG website team. The aim of Linux.ie is to
support and help commercial and private users of Linux in Ireland. You can
display ILUG news in your own webpages, read backend
information to find out how. Networking services kindly provided by HEAnet, server kindly donated by
Dell. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds,
used with permission. No penguins were harmed in the production or maintenance
of this highly praised website. Looking for the
Indian Linux Users' Group? Try here. If you've read all this and aren't a lawyer: you should be!