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Re: [News][Rival] Microsoft in new EU browser offer

Verily I say unto thee, that bbgruff spake thusly:

> Well, to the bit of my post that you quote, I did add "In fact, it is
> offering the very same freedom of choice that the EC suggested that
> it should!"

Yes, I didn't mean to imply that your analysis was wrong, I simply meant
that Microsoft's motive was not altruistic, and you should be careful
when repeating their misleading propaganda.

They're being coerced, and the measure they've settled on is the best
one they could conceive to satisfy their /own/ best interests, under
those coercive circumstances. Looking at the phrase "Microsoft offers
freedom of choice" in isolation, one might be fooled into thinking
otherwise. That "offer" is purely coincidental.

One needs to be very cautious when confronted with Microsoft's language
of propaganda, since it is carefully constructed to obfuscate the truth.
Take one of Ballmer's catchphrases "we give value", for example, that
makes their aggressive business ethos sound like a soup kitchen, or his
more recent idiom "non-proprietary software", that gives the impression
Freedom is an intrinsically negative concept.

Mopping Up can be a lot of fun. In the Mopping Up phase, Evangelism's
goal is to put the final nail into the competing technology's coffin,
and bury it in the burning depths of the earth. Ideally, use of the
competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in,
"he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2." Just keep
rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever.

"Evangelism is WAR!" ~ James Plamondon, Microsoft's former chief
Technology Evangelist (propagandist).


> I agree with you entirely wrt unbundling the OS completely. I've read
> all the objections, including:-

I'm sure it's been done before, but I'd like to address each of of those
"objections", for completeness. BTW, I realise you are merely presenting
the antagonists argument (Devil's advocate), so my criticisms are not
directed towards /you/ ... just to be clear.

> - but most people want Windows

Ah yes, the "popular" vs "ubiquitous" argument.

Windows is certainly /ubiquitous/, and we know the nefarious activities
which lead to /that/ unhappy condition - starting from back in the early
days when MSDOS produced fake error messages to discourage the use of
DR-DOS, right up to present day scandals like the notorious "now you see
it, now you don't" Asus Linux system, at Computex Taipei.


It's impossible to know /what/ OS people generally "want", since they
are almost never offered a choice of OS at the POS when buying PCs.

This is, after all, the whole point of unbundling.

By all means, let's /find out/ what people want. Let's /ask/ them.

But Microsoft don't want to allow OEMs to ask that question, because
they're afraid they may not like the answer.

However, Microsoft need not be concerned, because their propaganda
efforts to obfuscate the existence of, and twist the truth about,
competing platforms, has produced a society generally ignorant of those
alternatives, and what little they think they know is usually tainted by
that negative propaganda. That only leaves a relatively small minority
who have the foresight and determination to discover those alternatives,
and see past the lies.

The EU may be able to lead these ignorant and indoctrinated horses to
water, but can they make them drink?

It'll take more than mere legislation to undo the damage Microsoft has
done. IMHO it will require years of counter-propaganda, and an
unremitting carpet-bombing of exposure of Microsoft's lies and criminal

> - you can't sell a PC without an OS - you need to test the H/W

There are at least two problems with that.

First, hardware is covered by a /manufacturer's/ guarantee (in addition
to one's statutory rights), so the system /assemblers/ (OEMs) need not
be concerned about the individual components that comprise their systems.

Does PC World "test" the motherboards, HDDs, RAM, optical drives, and
other components that they sell, or do they leave that to the manufacturers?

This "need to test" is a false argument, indeed just an excuse for a
hidden purpose (Microsoft contracts).

Second, shouldn't the onus of responsibility for hardware compatibility
lie with the /software vendor/, rather than the OEM? If Microsoft wish
to certify certain OEM systems as "compatible", then it should be up to
Microsoft to perform that testing. It is, after all, /their/ software.

Assuming Microsoft already do this, then what else is there for OEM's to

And if Red Hat, Canonical, Novell, Mandriva, and other Free Software
vendors provided similar testing and certification, then what would
preclude OEMs from offering /those/ systems as well, without this "need
to test" the systems?

> - you can't expect the OEM to support all OSs

Well again, in reference to the above point, it isn't up to the OEMs to
"support" the operating system - that's the software vendor's

And assuming OEMs continue to insist on providing this support, how
difficult would it really be for them to support e.g. Ubuntu, or
whatever other distro that OEM standardised on?

It's a false dichotomy that in order for OEMs to "support Linux", they'd
need to support all 300+ distros.

> - it would be costly, and entail much customer inconvenience.

For an OEM to "install Linux" takes no more effort than to hit a button
on a disk duplication machine, that deploys disk images to hundreds or
even thousands of disks in a single pass.

The "testing", if deemed absolutely necessary, occurs precisely /once/,
on the master system designed by the OEM.

The only remaining cost is after-sales support, which would be no more
"costly" than with Windows, in fact probably less so, in the absence of
issues such as Malware, BSODs, creeping bloat and slowdown, and Registry
corruption. OEMs would undoubtedly find that most of their GNU/Linux
customers would simply go to the software vendor's user community for
support (e.g. Ubuntu forums).

And it's not like OEMs' after-sales support is particularly effective
anyway. What value is there is in contacting some Indian call-centre,
only to be told for the umpteenth time that you "need to reboot"?

The value and necessity of this after-sales support is greatly
exaggerated, so why OEMs continue to pursue it is a bit of a mystery.

Excuses, excuses.


| "The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which
| the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf
| denounces him for the same act, as the destroyer of liberty.
| Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of
| the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails today
| among human creatures." ~ Abraham Lincoln

Fedora release 8 (Werewolf) on sky, running kernel
 20:16:57 up 59 days, 15 min,  4 users,  load average: 0.00, 0.01, 0.00

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