Linux Options Omitted From Vista Survey

    September 20, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

It’s either the Microsoft way or the highway for computer users according to a survey about the economic impact the Vista operating system could have in Europe.

The potential for Linux making an impact on the European Union economy isn’t covered in an IDC whitepaper sponsored by Microsoft. Writer Glyn Moody at Linux Journal found that the survey directly targeted the European Commission.

Microsoft has been fighting with the EC for years over anti-monopolistic practices. Now Moody noted that the Commission has concerns about Vista, which is scheduled for a 2007 release.

Putting up a roadblock in Vista’s path could cost the European Union 100,000 new jobs, according to the survey. Moody had some issues with this contention:

What makes this FUD so impressive is that this attention to detail obscures the sleight of hand that is going on here. The white paper may predict sales by the “Microsoft ecosystem” of over $40 billion in six of Europe’s biggest economies, but what this figure hides is the fact that income for Microsoft and its chums is a cost for the rest of Europe.

As the paper itself mentions, half of this cost is down to the hardware.

Older hardware can handle Linux. A PC that was high-end five years ago and is a relic today probably can’t handle Vista. But it should be able to booth Linux distributions with minimal difficulties.

That’s a scenario Microsoft does not even want European Competition commissioner Nellie Kroes and company to consider, according to Moody:

As far as I can tell, the phrases “free software” and “open source” are not mentioned once in the white paper. The whole analysis ignores completely the rich and expanding world of free software as a possible alternative to Vista and its ecosystem.

many of the 100,000 jobs the white paper claims will be generated by Vista could just as easily be created if companies and users ignored Vista and turned to free software instead. Moreover, the wider benefits of nurturing free software – for example, in creating public resources that anyone can use – are increasingly being recognized.

One way someone can discover a Linux distribution that may be of interest would be through the entertaining Linux Distribution Chooser. This online tool can suggest a distro, including live CDs that let a developer try out a particular distribution before committing to one in particular.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.