Always Look on the Bright Side of FOSS

The days of summer may be coming to an end, but that’s no reason to be downhearted.

Indeed, just consider the news that in its recent annual filing to the SEC, Microsoft for the first time listed Red Hat and Canonical as official competitors!

The company “faces strong competition from well-established companies with differing approaches to the PC market,” the filing reads. “Competing commercial software products, including variants of Unix, are supplied by competitors such as Apple, Canonical, and Red Hat.”

Not only that, but “the Linux operating system, which is also derived from Unix and is available without payment under a General Public License, has gained some acceptance,” it added.

Tux, you’ve come a long way, baby! That, surely, is enough to put a smile on any geek’s face.

‘About Time’

Bloggers on TechFlash, on Good Gear Guide, on ZDnet, on Slashdot, on Linux Today and on Digg were among those whose cheers (and accompanying analyses) rang out through the blogosphere.

“About time,” was Monochrome Mentality blogger Kevin Dean’s reaction.

It should be noted, however, that “while Linux has been still trying to crank outa desktop OS, Microsoft’s revenue streams have diversified quite a bit,” Dean told LinuxInsider. “They’re now an online entertainment company with the Xbox Live; they’re an ad company with Bing; they’re an OS company; and yadda yadda yadda.”

It’s possible that Microsoft didn’t consider Canonical and Red Hat competitors “until they began inching into markets that Microsoft hadn’t previously identified as being key for them,” he added. “This might not reflect on Linux as much as priority shifts at Microsoft.”

‘We Have To Be More Vigilant’

At the same time, “this surprises me because Red Hat has announced they are not trying to compete in the desktop business, and this change involves Windows client business rather than the server side,” Chris Travers, a Slashdot blogger who works on the LedgerSMB project, told LinuxInsider. “This sort of thing makes me wonder if Microsoft is afraid of erosion due to downstream players rather than Red Hat itself.”

Of course, “Canonical is a different story, and it does seem reasonable that they be listed as competitors to the Windows desktop,” Travers added.

Either way, while “it’s nice to be acknowledged,” the news also means “we have to be much more vigilant against underhanded moves by Microsoft,” Montreal consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack warned.

‘Netbooks Let the Cat Out of the Bag’

Yet “M$ is its own worst enemy,” blogger Robert Pogson asserted. “They spend so much money, time and effort messing with the competition that they have alienated their real customers, those who buy PCs.”

OEMs are “lined up, just waiting for the right opportunity to stab M$ in the back,” Pogson told LinuxInsider. “That is why a few netbooks cost a billion dollars or more to M$’s bottom line.”

Consumers buy Microsoft products “only because there is little choice that they know about,” but “netbooks let the cat out of the bag,” he added. “A little advertising for GNU/Linux netbooks punched a hole in M$’s balloon. That will continue one way or another for a few more years.”Redmond is now on the defensive, Pogson maintained.

“Raising the price on ‘7’ by selling multiple versions of cripple-ware will not win back the love of customers,” he pointed out. “Continued hassles with malware are costing customers a lot of time and money, and they know it. M$ cannot hide the real cost of its OS in a pricetag.”

‘This Will Probably Cause a Flame War’

Whether Linux does any better at serving its customers, however, is also debatable, Slashdot blogger hairyfeet told LinuxInsider.

“While I would dearly love to offer Linux, if for no other reason than to increase profits and to make for secure ‘Netboxes,’ customers have spoken — they don’t want CLI,” he asserted. “I have yet to find a Linux distro that didn’t need CLI, especially when the updates break something.”

In short: “This will probably cause a flame war if you dare to print it, but when you get down to brass tacks, Linux developers refuse to listen to their customers,” hairyfeet opined.

Pizza Party!

Well, all we here at LinuxInsider can say is, if mainstream users don’t like the CLI, that’s only because they don’t know they can use it to order pizza!

Ha! It’s true, thanks to the fabulous Pizza Party application written by Cory Arcangel and Michael Frumin — featured last year on Linux*Screw.

Anything combining Linux and pizza is a winner in our book, especially when it could lighten the mood and avert a flame war!

In fact, in honor of summer’s waning days, let’s take a random walk on Linux’s light side and spend a little time enjoying the fun that is FOSS.

Personalized License Plates

It was actually a post on the Tech Source from Bohol blog last month that got Linux Girl thinking about the less-than-serious possibilities. Featured in that post were “10 cool Unix/Linux personalized license plates”– including “LNXGEEK” and “GOT UNIX.”

Our favorite? “UID 0.”

Even more recently, Rami Taibah on The Linuxologist blog compiled a collection of “13 Linux graffiti art from around the world” — including at least one we had seen on another occasion courtesy of Slashdot blogger drinkypoo.

Gotta love the IE fail graffiti, in particular!

‘The Bill Witch Project’

Another classic drinkypoo recently called to our attention is “The Bill Witch Project” poster, which we found posted here on the Hentzenwerke site.

An oldie but a goodie, that’s for sure!

(Speaking of Bill, who knew he had endorsed Ubuntu not long ago?)

Then, of course, there’s the classic Star Wars ASCII animation — highlighted not long ago on the Bohol blog — and, along similar lines, the beautiful portrait of Tux.

Linux Beauty can be seen in this YouTube video, while the story of Steve the Linux-based supervillain is told on uberGeek TV.

‘Apt-Get Girlfriend’

A couple of different illustrations highlight the differences among platforms and their fans — one here and one here — while a fun series on Linux*Screw focuses on the differing distros.

You just can’t buy entertainment like this!

We’ve seen numerous Linux T-shirts over the years, meanwhile, but a couple recently caught our eye: “apt-get girlfriend”and “Better Than Windows”.

‘Microsoft Is the Question’

Finally, what do you call a Microsoft programmer who writes bug-free code? Answer: Fired!

Ha, that may be one you’ve already heard, but have you checked out the multitudes more at Linux Jokes and Linux Web?

One of our favorites: “Microsoft is not the answer. Microsoft is the question. Linux is the answer.”

We’d be remiss not to mention the “Man Pages” — highlighted late last year by those comedians over at the Bohol blog — while Slashdot blogger Mack stresses the importance of Linux games.

‘The Smiles on a User’s Face’

For some, however, the ultimate fun is simply the joy of spreading Linux love to others.

“I have spent the last few years of my life fighting obsolete software and hardware on computer systems in schools,” Pogson said. “I am too tired to have any fun but the next installation of GNU/Linux and the smiles on a user’s face when they find there are better ways to do things with a PC.”

And that, dear readers, is what it’s all about.

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