Fresh on the heels of the entire Munich and Linux debacle, another story involving Microsoft and free software has popped up across the world, in Chile. A prolific magazine from the South American country says that the powerful Microsoft lobby managed to turn around a law that would allow the authorities to use free software.
Reports about the city of Munich authorities that are considering the replacement of Linux with Microsoft products mostly comes from one man, the Deputy Mayor of Munich, who is also a long-term self-declared Windows fan.
Munich is the poster child for the adoption of a Linux distribution and the replacement of the old Windows OS. It provided a powerful incentive for other cities to do the same, and it's been a thorn in Microsoft's side for a very long time.
The adoption of open source software in Munich started back in 2004 and it took the local authorities over 10 years to finish the process. It's a big infrastructure, but in the end they managed to do it. As you can imagine, Microsoft was not happy about it. Even the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, tried to stop the switch to Linux, but he was too late to the party.
Munich city council demonstrated to the world that an organisation employing thousands could ditch Windows and move to Linux and free software.
When the project finished late last year about 15,000 staff at the German authority had been migrated to using Limux, a custom-version of Ubuntu, and OpenOffice.
But is the council's move to open source about to be scrapped in favour or returning to Microsoft?
No says the council, in spite of numerous reports to the contrary. Suggestions the council has decided to back away from Linux are wrong, according to council spokesman Stefan Hauf.
The Robolinux developer doesn’t hide the fact that he's interested in the Windows audience and he is targeting those particular users with this Linux distribution. Sure enough, regular Linux users can also take advantage of the distro, but the OS features a few options that should only prove interesting if you are already running a Microsoft product.
There used to be a time when GNU/Linux was kept under mysterious 1% market share. Today mobile Linux Android owns over 85% of the market share leaving the once market leading iOS behind. But its not a tragedy for iOS that it’s market share has shrunk, the real tragedy is for Microsoft whose Windows Phone market share has gone down to mere 2.5%; just 1.5% ahead of what Linux used to have on desktops.
Linux has progressed quite a bit in recent years to where it has become a better and better alternative for Windows users. If you’re simply tired of Windows, don’t want to pay for new Windows releases, or you’re still running Windows XP, it’s always a good time to take a good look at whether Linux can work for you.
If you’re still a bit unsure, here are six secrets that Windows users may not know about Linux. Knowing these these six secrets should make you more comfortable trying Linux out. Interested? Let’s get started.
I've been writing about free software for nearly 20 years, and about Microsoft for over 30 years. Observing the latter deal with the former has been fascinating. At first, the US software giant simply dismissed free software as unworthy even of its attention, but by the early years of this millennium, that was clearly no longer a viable position.
As I've charted elsewhere in my "Brief History of Microsoft FUD", it made various attempts to discredit open source, all of which were dismal failures. As it became clear that this strategy would not work, it adopted another, somewhat more sophisticated. This involved trying to match aspects of open source without actually embracing it. The first manifestation of this was "shared source":
Windows and Linux communities used to virtually battle each other regarding the superiority of one platform or the other, but that is no longer happening, at least not at the same scale. One of the reasons for that might be that Linux is actually gaining ground.
When it comes to control systems, a common question has long been: Is Linux inherently more secure than Windows? Being a fan of Linux/Unix systems, I desperately want to answer “yes” to this question. During the 1980s and 1990s, so much of the work I was involved in ran under Unix. These days I run Linux on my home computer, and once a year I boot up a Windows XP virtual machine running under Virtual Box, to run my tax software. In the office, I rant about the lousy Windows operating system (OS) and ask why the world doesn’t switch to Linux. And as much as I hate to admit it, as a system integrator I am mostly locked into dealing with Microsoft’s flavor of the month operating system because of customer standards and the tools available.
From the appearance of “Brain,” which is recognized as the first computer virus, in 1986, to Stuxnet to the Zotob worm (the virus that knocked 13 of DaimlerChrysler’s U.S. automobile manufacturing plants offline), one thing all these viruses have in common is that they were directed at Microsoft’s operating systems. However, according to Zone-H (an archive of defaced websites), in a statistics report for the period 2005-2007: “In the past the most attacked operating system was Windows, but many servers were migrated from Windows to Linux… Therefore the attacks migrated as well, as Linux is now the most attacked operating system with 1, 485,280 defacements against 815,119 in Windows systems (numbers calculated since 2000).”