I attended a regional gathering of Association of PC User Groups in central Ohio. The Annual Meeting at the Ohio Midwest Regional was somewhat of a marketing event for Microsoft as the dinner keynote was a preview of Windows 7. With that said, I won’t not say that Microsoft sabotaged this event since it was their show anyway.
To my surprise, they wanted me to speak. I told the audience that there are only three places where Microsoft continues to hold market share:
1. Desktop Operating system – Microsoft Vista was disappointing product for consumers. It lacked the 3rd party hardware and software vendor buy-in that XP had. Vista also lacked the marketing brilliance of Bill Gates. The Vista users I found were not happy and wanted Microsoft to give them Windows 7 for free for their trouble. I told them that I don’t know if Microsoft will do that but Linux is always free to everybody.
2. Web Browser – IE doesn’t ship with Windows as per EU law in Europe. How much longer will the US allow this anti-trust practice continue?
3. Office Suite – Microsoft breaks patent law with Word 2007. Sure they’re appealing but this will not be a cheap ride for Microsoft. I can’t see how they can release Word 2010 unless this is settled in Microsoft’s favor. Bottom line is this is far more expensive to Microsoft than the $300 million. While Microsoft ligates, Open Office innovates.
I was also there to represent the Ohio Linuxfest. We had a table and we registered folks for our show on September 25-27. We gave away Ubuntu 9.04. Some asked for more copies to hand out at their user group. It was an amazing opportunity to show people Linux for the very first time. Everyone liked that it was a forever sort of free instead of Microsoft’s idea of free where the operating system shuts down after two hours.
We had a free raffle a the Ohio Linuxfest table. We gave away a TomTom. It runs Linux and Microsoft did their best to shut down TomTom. To the the truth, TomTom still makes one of the best GPS units out there.
As part of the raffle, I asked people the question do they use Linux. Yes or No. The answer didn’t disqualify. All I wanted is some realistic data as to what people use who attend a PC users group meeting.
Here are the results:
30 answered YES
26 answered NO
7 answered “not yet” – This was unprompted. Does the yet imply that they might try Linux sometime in the future?
3 failed to indicate if they use Linux. Maybe they didn’t understand the directions?
Anyhow that is 44.7% Linux users in a PC user group. The crowd was about 40% women.
I expected to find a least one Microsoft fan through and through there. This was Jay Ferron who is a consultant who does contracts for Microsoft. He also the Microsoft 7 keynote. I tried to tell Jay that I tried to try Windows 7 Release Candidate but I can not get this thing to install on anything. It doesn’t get very far before it hangs. I don’t even get an opportunity to format the disk. I guess I will have to wait until mid October to by my Windows 7 copy. If I do get a copy of Windows 7, I will install it and do side by side comparisons to Linux. I told Jay this was my plan. I gave Jay a card asking him to contact me with my email address and the url of this blog. I have yet to see an email from Jay and his email isn’t public.
Jay tried to convince me that Microsoft was cooperating with Linux and giving source code. Now, I expected Jay to talk about Microsoft’s arrangement with Novell or the HyperV inclusion in the Linux kernel. Instead he talked about something that continues to baffle me.
Jay claimed that he met with Sue in a closed meeting in Washington state. Sue, the Ubuntu community manager, who works for Ubuntu the company. I asked Jay twice if he is sure that Sue didn’t work for Canonical. He insisted that Sue works for Ubuntu. In this meeting, Jay was playing the role of the Microsoft insider. Sue, so Jay claims, gave Jay a copy of Ubuntu 9.05 but it was not to be released to the community. Microsoft gave Sue some unreleased source code of their own. There were some unnamed Red Hat employees who executed similar deals.
Here is the real deal Jay and world.
Jono Bacon is the Ubuntu Community Manager. He was on vacation when the supposed deal took place. Jorge Castro is his backup. Both Jono and Jorge are Cannonical employees as there is no company named “Ubuntu.” Cannonical is the company that sponsors the Ubuntu Linux distibution. Ubutnu 9.04 refers to the latest stable release and it is not old as it was released in April 2009 – that’s why it’s called 9.04. The unstable release is spun daily and it is called 9.10 because it will be ready for stable release at 9.10. Anyone in the the world can download 9.10 and its source here. This includes those Microsoft. It’s simply impossible that Ubuntu would make a closed source deal because that completely goes against what they’re all about. Since Jay didn’t try to name drop with the Red Hat folks, I won’t break it down but I strongly doubt Red Hat would be interested in Microsoft’s closed source software.