Second Microsoft leak boosts Linux

Best-of-breed Unix, customisable, scalable, reliable - what's this guy doing working for Microsoft anyway?


Microsoft memo-writer extraordinaire Vinod Valloppillil has been leaked again, this time with a competitive analysis of Linux apparently designed to be read in conjunction with his paper on open source software (Leaked Microsoft memo outlines anti-Linux strategy). As was the case a few days ago, the latest document was sent to Eric Raymond, but in this case the leaker is said to be a different individual. Like the first document this is dated 11 August, but seems to be aimed more at providing a briefing on Linux as competition, rather than at developing strategies for coping with it. This however arguably makes it more useful for anyone trying to get to grips with what Microsoft sees as the major threats from Linux. The other document's efforts at roughing-up strategies for combating open source software in general and Linux in particular can best be described as embryonic (if we're being kind), whereas the competitive analysis could in some areas be used as a blueprint for competitors considering using Linux to attack Microsoft. The author describes Linux as a best-of-breed Unix capable of running mission-critical apps, as being popular with users, and as coming with most of the primary apps needed to use it free. Advantages ("real and perceived") over NT include customisation, availability/reliability, scalability and interoperability. Note that most of these are alleged NT features that Microsoft has been pushing like crazy for the past few years in its attempts to push further into the enterprise. So according to Valloppillil Linux has the potential of getting NT where it lives. In the OSS document he seemed to largely discount Linux as far as the desktop is concerned, but here he seems to have changed his mind, reckoning it has a real chance. He also says it is emerging as "a key operating system in the nascent thin server market," and this goes some way to confirming the rumours The Register has been spreading about Intel thin servers and Linux for the past couple of months. He sees Linux threatening Microsoft in several ways, one of the most interesting being that "Linux is recreating the MS '3rd release is a charm' advantage FASTER." Linux in Microsoft terms is therefore now at version 3.0, and while externally the rule goes 'never install anything from Microsoft with a 1 or a 2 in front of it,' internally the iterative process (of the first two versions being crud) is seen as an advantage. He also thinks "the Linux community is very willing to copy features from other OS/s if it will serve their needs." He therefore expects Linux to "cherry pick" the best features introduced in NT for incorporation into the Linux codebase. Interestingly, he says that "the effect of patents and copyright in combating Linux remains to be investigated." ® Click for more stories


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