Friday, August 3, 2007


Yesterday I got talking to an old old friend via MSN. Needless to say or indeed sad to say, but the guy was really into Microsoft operating Systems. I am sure you all know or realise I am a staunch Linux advocate. This dividing of the ways led to an interesting discussion which lasted just over 4 hours on and off.

He, as do most Microsoft using people, think that Microsoft innovated everything that comprises an Operating System. He even went so far as to say "Microsoft invented everything we use on the desktop and innovated everything we see on it". This rankled somewhat so I set about putting the record straight.

He was utterly disbelieving of the fact that through the years Microsoft has  actually innovated almost nothing, ever and has in fact assimilated companies who posed a threat to their near monopoly on the desktop as well as stolen code and called it their own, rehashed other peoples ideas and called it their own idea. The only things they have innovated on has been out of desperation of what others had done and even then because they innovated something that someone else had already done it is not true innovation.

The conversation was long, I will not be relaying it all here as a lot of it was just 'catch-up' chat. However, here are a few examples of the kind of things he believed that simply where not true or correct.

He was enamored with Internet Explorers tabbed browsing until I told him that we in the Linux community have had tabbed browsing for at least 2 years before Microsoft copied it. He was full of praise for some new Microsft terminal that has "scripting abilities" then I explained about the Bash shell and all the other console and terminals we in the Linux community have had for at least 10 years. Tabbed terminals? Same again, we have had them for years. The list went on and on and on and in every single case where he believed Microsoft has been first to market I corrected him and told him they where simply playing 'catch up' with what we in the Linux community have taken for granted for a long long time.

Microsoft does not innovate, they either buy out ideas and call them thier own or copy ideas already in use on other Operating Systems.

We ended the conversation with him promising to try a Linux distrubution but before he left he asked "Where do I get it from and if there is more then one which one should I use?". I answered with "Why bother? If you are happy with what you are using then stick with it". Then he said something I never expected. "Microsoft Vista is a bear and costs way too much for what it is, anyway, I was going to go back to Microsoft XP but now you have intrigued me with this thing you use called Linux so I want to take a look before reinstalling XP". So, I told him of Distrowatch and that if he is asking me for a recommendation for someone like him then I would have to say Ubuntu.

And that, as they say, was that. Off-line he went. I expect that either later today, it is almost 8:30am here in Blighty, he will come on line and then I can ask him if is using or even tried Ubuntu. I expect the answer to be yes, he had tried it but...And he will be using the same broken Operating System as he had always used.

Whatever will be will be.

Perhaps later or possibly tomorrow, I shall report on what he tells me.

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