canopic jug writes:
Bryan Lunduke at Network World calls out what other mainstream media have been too timid, or bought out, to call out. He starts by pointing out that choosing Microsoft Windows for your organization should get you fired and that if you haven't already replaced Windows, across the board, you absolutely stink at your job.
There. Finally the topic is broached in mainstream media and a proper discussion can now start among decision makers who can arrange complete migrations to GNU/Linux, Chrome/Linux, one of the BSDs, or a combination of them.
As Microsoft security problems continue to escalate since even the pre-networked, MS-DOS days, managers and front-line grunts will find themselves increasingly culpable for selecting unviable software, such as Microsoft Windows. If they wish to pay big bucks for maintenance, there are plenty of companies around to participate in the money. Canonical, Red Hat, M:Tier are just a sampling.
[Ed. Note: I debated whether or not to run this story — in some respects it's just the Windows vs *nix argument all over again. Also, there are proprietary programs which are critical for certain industries which currently only run on Windows. On the other hand, gaining a mention like this in the more mainstream media, does that mean we are approaching an inflection point? Witness the increased displeasure with Windows 10's telemetry and the difficulty in completely blocking it. What programs do you use that are only available on Windows? What keeps you from moving to another OS? --martyb]
There was an argument?
Yes there was. For about two decades (now almost three, if you still count the argument as not yet settled), since the very first day a Windows salesman first conned a prospect into taking Microsoft's toy operating system seriously.
...and 2) suits prefer to buy software with support from a "real company" like Microsoft, since free software makes them uncomfortable even if you pay for support a la RedHat.
For most of that time, *nix in business was something that came from major players like DEC, Sun, HP or IBM, often on support contracts with prices that make Microsoft's look cheap, but most of the time actually delivered real support.
And even leaving that aside, in the modern world there are plenty of independent companies around (not just OS vendors) who will gladly sell you robust support contracts for FOSS Unix or Unix-like systems such as *BSD or GNU/Linux. Most companies are too miserly to pay for real support. But those who do often get better support than they would from large software vendors at any price (and always better than what, if anything, they'd get from large software vendors at the same price).
That's an obsolete argument that, with respect to FOSS OSes, ceased to have any merit at around the turn of the century, and with respect to the various closed Unix flavours was never true back then (but might be now following more recent rounds of mergers & acquisitions...).
As for "Windows-only critical software", that's pretty much a contradiction in terms. If it's really critical, you audit it before deploying. If you can't audit the platform, you can't audit anything that runs on it either. If it doesn't warrant an audit, then it's not "critical software".
I agree with TFA and would go further -- if someone deploys unauditable software in a setting where a software error might cause loss of life, not only should that person lose his job, but he should also be charged with negligent manslaughter (if the risk eventuates), or at the very least reckless endangerment (if it doesn't).
For about two decades (now almost three, if you still count the argument as not yet settled), since the very first day a Windows salesman first conned a prospect into taking Microsoft's toy operating system seriously.
I'm grateful to that one salesman for one thing and one thing only: it helped made from IBM-PC an open (hardware) standard [wikipedia.org] thus an OEM friendly one, therefore cheap and affordable.
Without it, I doubt Mac or HP or DEC would have lowered the prices enough on their stuff. Without MS, perhaps other companies would have popped on the market to fill the same niche (eg Wang labs?), but I see nothing to indicate they'd have been more ethical.
Here's the IBM "portable computer" 5 years before PC [wikipedia.org] - introductory price of $9000 in the mid '70-ies - you'd need a small truck to "port" in between places.
There were other systems like Commodore Amiga of CPM.
The reasons why PC won domestic market are debatable, but I don't think Microsoft created the domestic market. Nevertheless, I will never deny y that Microsoft played a main role. On the other hand, it later destroyed competence and abused of users.
"I don't think Microsoft created the domestic market"
Debatable. There were all those others, creating and/or finding niche markets. Microsoft took advantage of a business relationship with IBM, if you'll recall, to get their Windows OS going. And, at the same time, mercilessly crushing most of the opposition. There came a point when Microsoft was calling all the shots with the OEM's. "You'll sell our product exclusively, or you won't sell our product at all!"
Microsoft probably had as much to do with creating the market for PC's as all other players combined.
Of course, their methods were despicable. Digital Research is still a sore spot, after all these years. MS knew that they couldn't their Windows very efficeintly without 32 bit disk access. That disk access was holding up the release of Windows 95. DR succeeded where everyone else faile - they got 32 bit disk access. And, MS leaned on DR, created a bit of code to inform Windows that it couldn't run on anything that wasn't Microsoft DOS, and the rest is history.
DYSEAC [wikipedia.org] predates the IBM-PC with 27 years (1954). And that really needed a truck. But it was portable ;-)
What got x86 IBM-PC going was that IBM had a solid standing with technologically clueless executive people. So IBM got the x86-ISA-IBM-PC sold. And Microsoft enhanced DOS so it could ride along. So executives decided to buy PC+Windows and once that happened they wanted to exchange files.. *slam-lockin*.
The problem stems from incompetent people in control of resources.