Why Microsoft should not lose (and free software will still win)

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OS

There has always been a section of the free software community which has an anti-Microsoft agenda. It’s almost like their mission statement is “It’s not over until Microsoft is dead”. Certainly there is a lot of feeling that if Microsoft went away, a lot of our problem would be over. But do Microsoft even need to “lose”; is there even a battle to be fought and if so what would constitute winning it?

Easy target

Let’s face it Microsoft are an easy target when it comes to protesting against proprietary licencing. They are—after all—the largest and most obvious proponent of that particular form of consumer control. It’s all too easy to view the fight to bring free software into the mainstream as a David and Goliath type battle, but I don’t think it is. I don’t think that the death of Microsoft would necessarily be a good thing for free software. I do think the death of some of their practices would be a good thing for computer users but—perhaps I am being optimistic here—I think free software can ultimately be good for companies like Microsoft.

What do I mean by “good”?