Fri Oct 3 22:23:59 GMT 2003 Monoculture may be bad, but it's unavoidable
Nobody was ever forced to buy a Microsoft product. Everyone who has ever bought a Microsoft product has chosen to do so and has done so over the alternatives, which have always included computers from Apple and UNIX-based computers, and now include Linux from numerous sources, many of them free.
This is completely wrong, and is a large part of what the Justice Department suit was about. In fact, Microsoft threatened and bullied PC vendors whenever they tried to offer consumers alternatives like Unix and Linux.
Speculate instead, about a world in which multiple operating systems are in widespread use. In terms of security we would almost certainly be better off, even though most of those operating systems have their own rich sets of vulnerabilities. For example, there's a long list of Linux vulnerabilities. Most of them are in peripheral packages, but this doesn't usually matter; nobody runs just the Linux kernel.
Another misleading statement. In fact many people do NOT run ftp servers, sendmail, ssh or other software that has had security problems. Even if you do run them, in the Linux and Unix market, your choices are much wider: almost everyone may run mail, but there's sendmail, qmail, smail, mmdf, and many, many more.
For the most part, ordinary people don't buy "alternative" operating systems like Linux because these platforms are ill-suited to the tasks they need to do. Apple is able to keep a non-trivial market share with a completely proprietary platform, and think of how much more they would sell if they gave up on their own hardware and sold the Mac OS for the standard PC platform. The developers making UNIX and Linux should get their own products up to these standards before talking seriously about getting large numbers of users to run them.
Huh? Apple sells hardware tightly integrated with their OS. They'd be idiots to port to Wintel and they know that better than anyone. As to that "ill-suited" statement, there's an Orwellian turn around if I ever heard one: in fact, it's because Linux and Unix are so well suited to certain tasks that they are bought. Most people buy Microsoft because they just don't know any better. I sell a mail server and couldn't tell you how many customers have been amazed that they can use IE with it. It's massive ignorance that drives most Microsoft purchases, and little else.
That "up to standards" crack is such nonsense, too. People think Microsoft became dominant because it made such great software, but in fact it was bullying, buying out or destruction of competition, predatory pricing (until the market was secured, of course) and other sleazy tactics that built the Empire. But the general public doesn't know that, and apparently neither does the columnist who wrote this nonsense.
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