Re: [FoRK] Linux has won — long live the rest of the indemnified stack

Jeff Bone < jbone at > on > Sun Nov 5 16:01:01 PST 2006

Hmmm, where's that FoRK post from several years back when I predicted  
that eventually M$ would embrace (and extend) Linux --- and from  
which point on I ceased worrying about M$ and the general problem of  
anti-trust vs. my libertarian ideals, through recognition that the  
market *always* corrects...  just not as fast as we'd like.  :-)


On Nov 2, 2006, at 10:17 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:

> "Microsoft just said "uncle" on Linux."
> November 2, 2006
> Linux has won — long live the rest of the indemnified stack
> Posted by Dana Gardner @ 5:56 pm
> Digg This!
> Welcome to the "Linux Everywhere" world. Microsoft now loves Linux,  
> even if Steve Ballmer wouldn't don a penguin suit.
> Yes, Linux, I think we can safely say, has won. Oracle wants to get  
> it to you cheap. Microsoft wants to let you choose how to deploy  
> your applications — on Linux or Windows instances, perhaps on the  
> same machine or blade rack. Intel, AMD, Dell, HP, IBM, Sun — they  
> all just love Linux.
> Linux has never been in better shape, as long as Microsoft doesn't  
> think you're abusing their intellectual property. Microsoft today  
> with its Novell agreements is essentially offering Linux  
> indemnification when Windows and Linux play together. But you will  
> pay for it. Want to be safe using Linux and Windows together?  
> Better buy SuSe support from Novell. That's the message.
> Of course, Oracle is also offering indemnification. So is Sun. IBM  
> and HP seem to, too. So what gives? Is Microsoft making idle  
> threats? Will they back the threats up by suing their own  
> customers? Will they sue big customers? ISVs? They will need a  
> whipping boy, or the implied threat is a bluff. The SCO thing  
> didn't really work out. No fear there.
> SCO or no-SCO, Microsoft needs a Linux-Windows TCO story that makes  
> legal risk the difference between SuSe Linux TCO (with a Windows  
> mingle) and the TCO of the rest of Linux (with a Windows mingle).  
> And what's the big difference here from yesterday? It used to be a  
> FUD threat of Microsoft, or proxy, bringing on legal wrangles if  
> ANY Linux were used. Now, it's only non-SuSe Linux that might peeve  
> Microsoft's lawyers.
> As the Peggy Lee song says: "Is that all there is?"
> Tactically, this was not the really big show that the lead-up to  
> the announcement suggested. For those shops really worried about  
> getting sued by Microsoft, they ought to go SuSe. Fine. Still, I'd  
> say that the threat is mostly hollow. And I'll stay with that  
> position until Microsoft sues a Fortune 500 company for  
> intellectual property transgressions, which will just push  
> enterprises into a pure Linux play.
> But strategically there is a big, big story here. Microsoft just  
> said "uncle" on Linux. They had to save face, so they did it behind  
> a smoke screen of indemnification malarky. The bigger story is that  
> the software game has changed to one of a battle between the  
> "friends of Linux."
> In other words, it's now a world of "our stuff" plus Linux against  
> "your stuff" plus Linux. Microsoft knew that virtualization and SOA  
> were going to make moot most distinctions between applications/ 
> services supported by a Linux kernel or a Windows instance. They  
> saw that developers increasingly prefer to build, test, and deploy  
> on open source … and then let someone else worry about porting to  
> Windows, if necessary. This is especially true for SaaS and service  
> provider ISVs — where cost is super critical.
> I do think the timing on this is curious, and had to have something  
> to do with Oracle's Linux move.
> In any event, now that Microsoft loves Linux, too, the open source  
> vs. commercial battle moves up the stack. Yes, it's clearly a stack  
> world now, and the next battle ground is … middleware. Linux is a  
> must-have commodity within any stack — a Windows stack, an Oracle  
> stack, an IBM stack. You name it. Microsoft says so.
> The real end-game for open source then is the rest of the stack,  
> right up to and including the business applications. The new  
> questions are: Will the JBoss model be repeatable and allow Red Hat  
> to successfully move up the stack? Can they do it without IBM and  
> Oracle? Will SOA emerge as a strong open source alternative? Will  
> the hardware providers begin to give away the software, ala Sun, to  
> pressure the non-hardware software players on price and make the  
> profit from the hardware alone? Will the SaaS providers squeeze the  
> business applications profits even as the profits in the Linux  
> bottom of the stack wither?
> Even as these questions are resolved, the ISVs and the enterprise  
> developers now know: Design, build, and deploy on Linux, and have  
> low risk, low cost. And may the best services within the rest of  
> competing stacks win — on both quality and TCO, be they commercial,  
> open source, or commercial open source.
> Oh, one more thing … Should we expect Microsoft to also soon offer  
> indemnification protection when one mingles Windows with Unix?
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