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Gates On Linux Interoperability

Mindful of the past and optimistic about the future, Bill Gates opened the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas this year with an overview of Microsoft's efforts to deal with some of today's most-pressing IT problems. In his Nov. 16 speech, Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect talked about anti-spam, security, and search software, and then something new: seamless computing.

This excerpt, from the larger InformationWeek Q&A with Bill Gates, titled Bill Gates Talks Seamless Computing, Security, And Linux, focuses on the parts of the conversation that addressed Linux and open-source interoperability:

InformationWeek: I'd like to switch the discussion to open source and Linux. InformationWeek recently ran a story that questioned whether Microsoft is doing enough to support compatibility between Linux and Windows. Do you feel Microsoft is doing more than people realize? Will there be more?

Gates: Tell me any area we're not doing enough. I mean seriously, what area do you think we could do more in? We run UNIX shell scripts. We run UNIX libraries. We've got this whole group in India that -- we had a group of customers that decided to go from expensive UNIX to Windows, and they wanted to take their shell scripts and their programs and run them. No rewriting, no changing, just compile and run. So we took on that challenge, and we have lots of customer case studies where we made that attractive. We've had UNIX as a primary element in the data center for most of the history of Microsoft. So, supporting NFS, supporting all of these things related to UNIX, we're extremely good at that.

InformationWeek: Services For UNIX has been part of your product family for years now. Understood. But will you go beyond what you've done, to make it work more closely with the open-source community in some way?

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