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August 12, 2002—In this issue:
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
- Computing Old Guard Attends LinuxWorld
- Enter the Windows & .NET Magazine/Transcender Sweepstakes!
3. CONTACT US
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1. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, email@example.com)
At this week's LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, the hackers, administrators, and open-source gurus who usually attend the event will have some unlikely companions: representatives from Sun Microsystems and Microsoft, two companies that stand to lose the most if Linux is successful. Both companies have sent teams of people to the show before, but this year's event is a bit different; Sun and Microsoft are now active and formal participants in the show and not just silent observers. However, the two companies' approaches to the Linux threat are quite different. Sun is seemingly embracing a technology similar to one that it's been selling for decades, whereas Microsoft is extending a cautious olive branch to a community it has openly trashed for the past few years.
Sun's move into the Linux space seems to make sense. The company markets its own UNIX variant called Solaris, which runs on the company's high-end UltraSPARC platform; Sun canceled a low-end Intel-based version of Solaris last year when it announced that it would instead create a Solaris-compatible Linux distribution for Intel-based systems. At LinuxWorld, Sun is touting a new line of low-cost Linux-based servers and its new Linux distribution for low-end servers and desktops, Sun Linux 5.0. The products will help Sun counter IBM in the server space and Microsoft on the desktop, the company says. "IBM is the air war, and Microsoft is the ground war," said Sun Executive Vice President Jonathan Schwartz.
After alternating between secret and open attacks on the Linux community for about 4 years, Microsoft has apparently adopted a new tactic as it attempts to counter the impression that Linux represents a valid low-cost alternative to Windows. This new tactic involves software interoperability and open discussion with the Linux community, and it began last summer with Senior Vice President Craig Mundie's appearance at an open-source conference. At LinuxWorld, Microsoft's booth is sure to be controversial because the company has little in the way of software or services to offer the Linux community. The company says it has no plans to port its popular Microsoft Office suite to Linux, for example, although it secretly tested such a port 2 years ago when it was unsure about its Linux plans. But Linux never took off on the desktop and likely never will, curtailing any need for such a product.
This week, the six Microsoft employees who run the company's booth at LinuxWorld will get a taste of what it's like to be in the minority. The event should be an interesting learning experience.
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