Before I get into the subject, I just want to say a few things about Microsoft and the open-source community.
I may not have liked Microsoft's earliest editions of Windows (95-98-ME), but since XP kicked in I'm loving the kind of stability it has.
as we speak, I have 2 operating systems on my computer, a Windows XP and FreeBSD 5.1.2 with XFree86 and Gnome 2.2.4 installed.
Let's face it, Microsoft "has" the biggest share in market because windows is easy to use and maintain.
Don't get me wrong, I like the open-source community and all, but, is it reliable to get any easy work done?
I'm not talking about servers or hardcore programmers, I'm talking about the day to day computer users, the ones that open Microsoft word, check their email and log out.
I haven't tried working with Linux yet, but I've used its desktop environments (GNOME and KDE) on FreeBSD, and it's so far away from Windows, in terms of stability, ease of setting up and most importantly software available.
Sure, there's OpenOffice, there's GIMP, etc., but compare them to their windows peers, does GIMP for instance stand a chance againest Photoshop?
Of course we can say that Apache kicks IIS in the behind, but I'm still talking about the "normal" usage of computers.
Back again to the ease of use subject, tell a guy who works at a computer shop to install FreeBSD, work through the Kernel, compile it, configure the make files and compile the WM and the desktop environment to have a working X-Window system, don't you think he'd freak out?
Compare that to the "Next - Next - Next [oh this is where I put that number thing on the back of the case thing] - Next.... Welcome to Windows".
Another point is the open-source thing, people, Microsoft does this for a living, can you go and tell KFC to give away their secret recipe because chefs from around the world would be able to improve it?
Sure, open-source can be helpful for improving your code, and the technology, etc. But it won't put food on your table.
Yea, I know all about RedHat and their movement towards profitable open-source products, but then again, do you think they'll ever reach the same profitability of Microsoft's?
Now, all of you open-source die hards, can you count the people who actually hacked through the source code? did you read all of it and made sure there are no bugs or security holes whatsoever?
Security? bugs? viruses? it's not just Microsoft's, Linux had them, even the all mighty FreeBSD, and very serious bugs as well.
My point is, it's no battle, Microsoft is there for everybody, *nix is there for people who like to do things the hardway and learn more about computers.
Too bad the main subject would get a one liner which is:
I think it's a very good move from Microsoft, as it'll reach out the hearts and minds of open-source diehards, It'll help power their new .NET technology and C# (when all those FreeBSD servers have an option to use C#), plus we'll get to know what their code really looks like ;)
Don't be hating.
- Eihab E. Ibrahim