Is Microsoft really trying to compete with FLOSS?

So Microsoft announced this week that it would stop updating it’s core “enterprise” search product on Linux and Unix.  So when you have a mixed environment, like most medium and large corporations do, how is a solution without a linux or unix option still an enterprise solution.  Really how do you call this an enterprise search solution?  Easy you promise to support though not update the existing code for the next ten(10) years and help people setup Windows options.  If you are wondering why your Microsoft stock never seems to go up this would be a prime example.

By comparison to this most search solutions in the FLOSS world do offer and support Windows.  So does this mean that Microsoft has just decided it can’t compete?  Hard to believe that the folks in Redmond can’t seem to figure out there is money in software for Linux and BSD.  Controlling the entire stack just isn’t that important anymore is it?  I guess they think so.

So does FLOSS get the win in this competion?  What do you think?

Countering the No One to Sue Argument against Open Source…

There is no one to sue if the software has a bug and endangers our business?
This is my favorite reason that I have heard against Linux and FLOSS.  The reason is because they are right.  There is no one to sue.  People use this statement when they want you to believe that they have the companies best interest at heart, but do not understand the nature of the software industry as a whole.  Why do we say this?  The reason is simple and it’s spelled EULA.  If you have ever suffered through a EULA, or End User License Agreement, you will understand why it is so tough for people to understand.  They are written by lawyers, they protect the people writing the software and almost never do anything to protect you.  In almost every EULA I have scanned there is a clause that is actually understandable releasing the software maker from any liability or from any damages done to you or your company in the use of the software.  Microsoft, for instance, in most of it’s EULA’s, state that you do not really own the software.  Microsoft has the right to remove it from your computer without cause or a reason at any time.  Part of the reason for this is to limit their liability when the software fails to function properly for the rare user that might sue.  There are also large sections of the EULA that explain why you cannot sue the company.  Do not think they are alone in this practice.  Every company that creates even freeware and shareware has to have these kind of statements in their EULA’s to stay in business. 

So then what do we do to argue against this?

I find that the people offering this reason are generally not comfortable with the question of open source and Linux itself.  They tend to use this argument because it seems so obvious.  So to counter it, do not start arguing.  To counter it, I normally start asking questions about the last time the company sued a vendor, any vendor.  The reality is that if you ask most companies, they do not have an example.  Generally the ones that do have an example, only sued because the company was customizing a piece of software,  missed a date or just failed to deliver at all.  If you get lucky and this is an example they present, then start to break down the argument by asking if you could not do the same for an open source consulting company.  When I was a consultant I carried insurance for just such a case.  If I messed up to the point I couldn’t or was not allowed to fix it and they wanted to sue this insurance would have paid them and protected my assets.  In this case I would have had to actually do harm to the business that wanted to sue me and not anyone producing the software I was configuring.  That company would have been able to blame me.  So if given the opportunity to talk about the case ask them which software vendors they sued with the company providing the services.  I have never seen or heard of a case where suing the software maker was attempted let alone successful.  So again the question for the person making the case that there is no one to sue is still when has it happened before either within or outside of the company.

This is one of the situations where I often see opponents of Linux and FLOSS software take extremely seriously.  It’s also one that once challenged calmly and after giving the person time to reflect on the question of when it’s happens often goes away on it’s own.  If they start getting defensive at any point drop the subject and bring it up again later.  If you walk away without letting the discussion degrade, it will very often result in new questions and reasons not to use Linux.  Those questions will be much more challenging to answer simply but will have actionable items that can be addressed.  It sounds counter productive to our point right?  Not really because the goal should be to turn a cynic into an Evangelist.  The interesting thing about Evangelists is that the loudest and most convincing of them evolve from being critics of Linux.  Once you change their mind about a topic like Linux, the momentum starts.  Much like a snow ball it will build and start sucking in other people.  In several cases I have witnessed companies turning away from their previous OS’s and moving to fast too Linux.

What other arguments do you have against Linux or FLOSS? 

We have faced a lot of them over the years let us know what you are having trouble with and we will help you to solve it.  Then, changing the names to protect those involved, we will post the method and results for others to learn from.

Are you facing Linux and FLOSS Resistance? Let us Help….

Does your company have a strong Linux Presence?  What about other Open Source Tools like Apache, MySQL, Tomcat, or any of the Open Source Wiki’s?  If not then why not? 

If you have ever asked people these questions what was the response?  What amazes me is how often Corporations are paralyzed with fear around just a few issues when it comes to FLOSS.  In this weeks article we are going to try to teach everyone how to combat one of the most common arguments we have heard against FLOSS.  We would like to write several articles explaining how we defuse or debunk most of these complaints, whines and irrational reasons against FLOSS. With your help and your feedback we will write follow-ups to this article addressing other common anti-patterns for Open Source and how we would approach countering them. 

So please leave us a comment here telling us what else to discuss.…No more publication same old silly biases…

I stopped reading’s editorial stuff years ago becuase before I became a Linux geek I was a Mac Geek.  The constant Microsoft bias then and the continued anti-FLOSS bias now still remains.  In this article the author almost sounds like he is upset that he isn’t talking about the Microsoft offering since it seems to be missing completely.   What’s worse about this article is that for some reason Android isn’t considered FLOSS becuase it’s forcing people to use Java for Application Development.  The problem with that is that Sun Open Sourced Java Years ago.  If you look into the history of Java you will see that things like Cell Phones and your Refrigerator are exactly what it was meant to be used for originally.  It was only later that people started using it for Web Stuff like most people think of it today.

Even if you ignore that little point the proposed reason why Open Source will fail to take over the cell phone market is the exact reason why it will.  Open Source projects have the ability to go viral.  They can be expanded without and often in ways the original author intended.  The carriers are protecting their bottom lines without a doubt.  But what they have learned is that it’s easier to manage bandwidth with ridiculous fees than trying to control what apps run on the phone.  There is also the issue of my favorite Government Agency the FTC.  The Federal Trade Commission is pressuring even Apple and AT&T to do the open and in some cases right thing.  The bigger threat to what Apple and AT&T had going though was and is Android and the Droid line of phones being placed onto the Verizon Network.

If you haven’t noticed the once thought reasonable now turned extreme app approval process at Apple has been under fire.  Apple and AT&T have heard the grumblings and are moving out of the way and trying to become more transparent about the process.  No that there is any hard proff they are going to do it and not just lip service the goverment.  It may be to little to late.  As a Droid and IPod Touch owner I can tell you that a couple more releases of Android and the Droid lines of phones will place it ahead of Apple.  Roughly the same amount of time it took Apple to take over or create the App Phone Market.

The stability of the hardware is what is important.  That is what concerns the Carriers and consumers the most.  The Carriers see these bandwidth hogging phones as profit centers no matter what OS is running.  If you think they can’t find a way to preserve their cash flow you are crazy.