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Re: Bigger, better CrossOver adds WoW to Linux

  • Subject: Re: Bigger, better CrossOver adds WoW to Linux
  • From: "Rex Ballard" <rex.ballard@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: 2 Oct 2006 09:23:40 -0700
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Mark Kent wrote:
> begin  oe_protect.scr
> Linonut <linonut@xxxxxxxx> espoused:
> > After takin' a swig o' grog, Rex Ballard belched out this bit o' wisdom:
> >
> >> Just a hunch, but I am thinking that if Microsoft absolutely insists on
> >> their "Windows Guaranteed Agreession" WGA plan, that Crossover and
> >> Win4Lin are going to get VERY POPULAR, and if OEMs insist on installing
> >> a completely useless version of Windows, that WHITE BOX machines will
> >> expand their market to about 50% of the market, cutting DEEPLY into the
> >> desktop and laptop market.
> >
> > Microsoft is banking on consumer ignorance, Rex.
> >
> He has a point, though.  I can see local shops offering linux machines
> with cross-over & wine and so on.  Much less expensive than Vista,
> highly functional, essentially virus proof, highly exploit resistant,
> easy to maintain, thousands of native packages.  You could see it
> working.

Keep in mind that Microsoft has killed off a about a dozen PC companies
that "Aren't quite dead yet".  Acer, for example, is now offering a "no
bones about it, this machine was made for Linux, but we put Windows on
it to get it to the retailer shelves" machine.  CompUSA now has a
NASCAR PC, which is made by some "no name" computer company, and again
features everything required for a clean installation of nearly any
version of Linux, yes, XP Home edition is included, but Pro isn't even
offered, and Home is clearly for those who want to run a VM.

Dell is offering installation media with all of it's machines.  Seems
that they are tired of being told that their computers are "disposable"
(especially since Dell leases most of their machines to corporate

HP and Dell both have "Linux Oriented" PC lines, which don't even try
to pretend to be "Windows" machines.

When you see machines touting Turion 64 Processors or Athelon 64
processors, Intel 64 bit Duo processors, FireGL or ATI 9000 or later
graphics cards, you can pretty much figure that's a machine that would
be a waste of time and Money as a windows machine, but with Linux, you
make every dollar count.

AMD has made a killing by opening the door to Linux machine vendors.
They let the vendors sell 32 bit Windows XP (to appease Microsoft), but
at the same time, provide machines which only merit the extra expense
if Linux is installed.

Most of these machines no go way beyond 2 gig of RAM, very fast 64 bit
and dual-core CPUs.

The machines aren't even advertized as "Vista Ready".  It's very clear
that the market for these machines is Linux.

And here's the big one.  This now makes up 25% of the total PC market,
and another 20-25% of the market is "White Box" machines sold with NO
operating systems.

This could be an indicator that, if Microsoft decides to get too
hostile to Linux, that 40% of the market could go Linux and refuse to
even purchase Vista.  They could ask vendors for XP instead of Vista,
refuse to purchase machines that feature Vista, or simply move even
MORE of their purchases to large scale "white box" makers.

It's not that hard to see OEMs offering Win4Lin or CrossOver enhanced
versions of Linux.  We are already seeing Crossover offered as as
strategic part of the LinSpire product.

Microsoft has enjoyed "bragging rights", being able to claim that 99%
of the machines sold by the top 5 OEMs are being sold with Windows, but
if Microsoft decides to go Linux Hostile, those OEMs, and more
importantly, their customers, could quickly go "Microsoft Hostile"
specifying that Vista NOT be installed with their machine.

Furthermore, if Beta versions continue to flash WGA piracy alerts, and
demand that end users and desktop users "phone home", there is a very
good chance that corporate customers will refuse to renew the support
packages which are due to expire at the end of this month or shortly
after.  For those with bad memories, in October of 2003, Microsoft
released XP.  They announced that unless the corporate customers signed
corporate support contracts, at nearly triple the rates they were
currently paying, they would be completely "unsupported".  At that
time, many companies began to formulate Linux deployment plans,
preparing to migrate to "all Linux" if necessary, and leaving Windows
users "on their own" if the wanted to continue to use Windows.

Many of those companies have been covertly implementing those plans,
making sure that every machine deployed can be converted to Linux
within an hour or less, making sure that employees can easily install
FireFox and OpenOffice from the corporate web sites, making sure that,
web sites are FireFox friendly, making sure that services and portal
are also FireFox friendly.

If they allow their support agreements to expire, they can still use
Windows XP under the OEM license, and they can still deploy Windows XP
as a "client" to Linux under that OEM agreement (which does not
explicitly forbid such acts).

If Microsoft insists on attempting to revoke the OEM licenses
completely, vendors could have their employees peel all Windows
branding and Certificates of Authenticity from the machines, making it
as difficult as possible to reinstall Windows when the machines are
recycled or returned from lease.

It's beginning to look like things could get ugly for Microsoft in
Microsoft tries to get too ugly with Linux.  Linux has tried very hard
to "play nice".  They have limited their efforts to after-market
conversion of OEM machines, and have allowed Microsoft to ignore the
huge percentage of "White Box" machines.  Microsoft tried to retain
control of the machine by offering VirtualPC for free downloads, and
even offering Unix Services for Windows as a free download, neither of
which has ended up playing out very well, and instead have pushed
people more deeply into the VMware and Xen with Linux as host camp.

Microsoft has tried to woo the Xen camp into letting it play "master"
operating system, but even this has turned out to be more of an attempt
to sabotage the Xen project than an attempt to support their efforts to
offer both Windows and Linux on the same platform with no significant
modification of the installation media.

If OEMs can get quantity discounts on major commercial distributions
which include discounted versions of Crossover, it could become a more
attractive alternative that further capitulation to Microsoft's
incessant demands for more money and more restrictions designed to
thwart all competition on every level.

It's also highly unlikely that the Bush Administration, nor any
Democratic candidate will be openly campaigning openly on behalf of
Microsoft's interests.  In fact, the successfule conviction and
imprisonment of several high ranking corporate officers at other
companies, such as Enron and WorldCom, could be setting the stage for
similar convictions of top ranking Microsoft executives.

But to be honest, I think the market, rather than the court, will be
forcing the issue, and the showdown could even happen during the BETA
evaluations - with even the evaluators telling users and corporate
customers "Don't waste time on Vista, go with Linux".

> --
> | Mark Kent   --   mark at ellandroad dot demon dot co dot uk  |
> 1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.

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