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FUD Never Changes

Hey, it's our old friend FUD making an appearance yet again! FUD, of course, stands for "fear, uncertainty and doubt," and is a weapon that Microsoft has long been accused of using to stave off competition and try to sow just enough doubt in customers' minds to back them off from using non-Microsoft products.
Does it work? Apparently Microsoft thinks so, because it's employing it again in the form of comments from chief platform strategist Bill Hilf. Hilf said that Linux doesn't really threaten Windows on the desktop; that's fine. Nobody's going to have a problem with that assertion. But he then went on to claim that Linux as an advanced, integrated server platform is also no challenge to Windows because "end users don't want to do testing unless they're a developer" and "most open-source code is terribly inferior to commercial software code."

I mean, c'mon. That's flatly ridiculous, not to mention insulting to the hundreds of large enterprise users that already have Linux deployed at a high level. Do you think that all those Wall Street firms that have rolled out Linux as their base for high-transaction, 24/7 financial services platforms just ran screaming for the East River as if they were being chased by zombies? Of course not, because they already know that their "terribly inferior" open-source code has been tested out the wazoo and works perfectly well.

Let's be clear: Hilf, in levelling this broadside against Linux and praising predecessor Martin Taylor's anti-Linux "Get The Facts" campaign, is taking out after competitors such as IBM, Red Hat and Novell that are entirely commercial and produce Linux server code that users have found to do far more than one thing very well. Novell's management shakeup may raise some strategic questions about the company's direction, but I haven't heard anyone complaining about the quality of SUSE Linux lately. Ditto for Red Hat Enterprise Server. And plenty of smaller enterprises are using truly open-source Linux as their server base without major problems, aided by community testing of just the sort Hilf says users aren't interested in doing.

Microsoft execs don't have to go in this direction; they have an excellent line of server software products that carries the market share lead and is expanding into areas such as high-performance cluster computing where the company can clearly compete on the merits. Hilf would be much better served to tout the advantages that Windows Server products offer, rather than sliming Linux and treating the IT community like a bunch of babies who have somehow never seen Microsoft FUD tactics before.