Could Microsoft Kill Linux?
I have speculated before on the subject of Microsoft’s options concerning competing with Linux, but it seems to receive little serious debate, so I thought I must be off track, either technically or commercially. In my view Microsoft would extend its Services For Unix product to comply with the Linux Standard Base requirements and would therefore support Linux applications. For many corporates this would be a dream come true, access to all of the Open Source applications that support either Windows, Linux or both, and of course it would also benefit both users and developers. However Microsoft have told me they have no interest in doing this (but they would wouldn’t they). So in that context it’s interesting to see this article by John Dvorak, How to Kill Linux, where he says:
The immediate usefulness of Linux running under Windows is obvious. You can use all the Windows drivers for all the peripherals that don’t run under Linux. Drivers have always been an issue with Linux as PC users have gotten spoiled with Windows driver support. Today’s user wants to grab just about anything and not worry about installing it and making it work.
That said, there is no way Linux under Windows would be practical with all the overhead involved. So this notion comes to mind: How about eliminating the middleman? The idea here would be to cut the driver layer out of Windows and attach it to Linux directly. This would become MS-Linux. If Microsoft actually produced an MS-Linux that was the standard Linux attached to the driver layer of Windows, giving users full Plug and Play (PnP) support of all their peripherals, nobody would buy any other Linux on the market.
Although I am not sure of the analysis “nobody would buy any other Linux on the market” I can here Linux advocates shouting “security, reliability” already, it would be interesting to see more debate on the pros and cons. Of course with Virtual PC Microsoft already has the ability to distribute Linux with Windows with almost no cost or effort involved at all and I am sure that the Virtual PC approach could be evolved to create a more seamless and integrated application usage experience.