You Can't Buy Community

by Derrick Story

I just finished reading a c|net article titled, Ballmer: United, we'll stomp on Linux, in which Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO is quoted saying, "Linux is not about free software, it is about community." The article goes on implying that Microsoft now wants this too. The logic being, that if Microsoft creates a "community" like Linux, then they can finally crush this bothersome foe.



Since I didn't conduct the interview myself, I have no idea how accurate these statements and conclusions are. But, if they're true, then I have to laugh.



Indeed, Linux has community, as does Apple. There's something about banding together as underdogs that creates a sense of camaraderie -- not to mention a true belief in the technology itself. Why the hell Microsoft is concerned about the one missing piece of computer domination it doesn't have, is beyond me. Unless ... oh, I get it.



As a member of the Mac community, and as a friend of the Linux community, I can tell Microsoft this:



Money can't buy you love, friends, or piece of mind ... only market share. Apparently, that's what "community" means to them.


7 Comments

anonymous2
2002-09-24 16:20:26
accepting liability for open source software
In the reference C|NET article, it says that a big issue standing in the way of Microsoft offering applications for Linux is their reluctance to assume liability for open source software.


This is funny.


Microsoft doesn't assume liability for their own software! That's what that little "as-is" clause in software licenses is all about. Microsoft sells softare "as-is". The buyer assumes all responsibility for suitability of purpose, etc. Additionally, they disclaim liability for all incidental damages, etc.


Given this situation, it is truly laughable that MS would use "liability" as an excuse not to develop for Linux.


Of course, I'm sure the real reason is that if MS-Office were available for Linux, there would be no further reason for anyone to buy Windows.

anonymous2
2002-09-24 19:26:29
There is a Windows Community ;-)
... and it's called "flock of sheep".
oliverw1
2002-09-24 22:53:56
accepting liability for open source software
> if MS-Office were available for Linux,
> there would be no further reason for
> anyone to buy Windows.


there is StarOffice! I boldly like to claim that it can easily replace about 80% of all MS-Office installations - Right Now.


http://wwws.sun.com/software/star/staroffice/6.0/
http://www.openoffice.org/

jasontm
2002-09-25 11:03:26
MS Has Huge Community...
it's just that everyone there spends all their time in tech support and all their money on security products to fix what they buy from MS. :)


Long Live Mac OS X :D

anonymous2
2002-09-25 11:51:50
MS Community Standards
Why does everyone trash the MS Community?


It is one of Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD). That's all. Nobody who uses M$ product has ever claimed they did so due to technical excellence or some sort of honest evaluation. It's always been a matter of pressure to pursue the path of least resistance - and then blame Microsoft (everyone else does!) if something doesn't work and sit back and collect your IT salary until the next Quick Fix or Serivce Pack.


You sort of have to feel sorry for all the IT personnel who use FUD as an excuse to further spend money on M$ product because all their friends did. No one should make prejudiced remarks about the community, we should come up with politically-correct terms like "software challenged" or "processor challenged" or "operating-system challenged" - all these apply to the MS Community. We'll all feel better... in fact, I feel a hug coming on...


And one more thing about how one can strain the meaning of these quaint terms for corporate greed: if I lived in the MS Community and they claimed to have a Neighborhood Watch, I would hire a private security firm and lock up my daughter!



anonymous2
2002-09-26 02:20:55
MS has hostages not community
Every Windows user lives under the oppressive MS licenses and/or policies and aside from mass discontent they as users have very little input. If MS thinks that the mere fact that people run their sofware makes them part of the community they will be very disappointed. Their "community" is neither happy nor loyal to their abusive host, that is the main difference between Mac/Linux and MS. People LOVE Mac, people LOVE Linux but MS???
anonymous2
2002-09-27 02:38:35
How to win friends and influence people
I wrote a little piece discussing this on my blog which you can read here:


http://www.monkeyx.com/archives/000131.html


Basically, I don't buy into this line of Microsoft bashing and Derrick obviously is missing some very active communities on the Windows platform.


However, I remain sceptical about being involved in a community where your supplier is also your potential competitor.