Microsoft's Ballmer: "we believe every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability"

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer claims that Linux infringes on some as-yet undisclosed MS intellectual property, and that therefore Linux users owe them money! Computerworld has an article presenting both sides of what is sure to become a hotly-contested and closely-watched news story.

I recall that the SCO litigation made waves throughout the open source community, yet Linux still exists. When a company as large and powerful as Microsoft becomes involved, things should get very interesting. People building critical systems on Linux will now be forced to at least consider that they may be at some kind of risk...

It's kind of funny to think about "Linux customers" though. Is that like being an "air customer"? Sure you can buy air from certain suppliers, or have services built around air, but air is essentially available to anybody in its basic form at no cost :-)

But will this really hurt Linux? People reconsidering their server deployment choices may or may not hurt Linux, but I have my doubts about what this will do to the Linux kernel. By its nature, it can morph and essentially route around damage. Serious damage would take longer to work around, but it will be possible.

Who really stands to take some damage are the Linux software vendors. As much as I like Linux technologically, I might reconsider deploying a large, critical piece of commercial software on top of it. Something running on Windows, OSX or Solaris might be "safer".

Posted on November 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

VMWare Virtual Server Released

The rumors were confirmed yesterday; VMWare Virtual Server is now a free download which replaces EAX Server in the VMWare line. It's a worthy download, allowing users to run VMs created by VMWare Workstation, or downloaded from the premade virtual machine library on the VMWare site.

Missing is the functionality that belongs exclusively to the GSX Server product, which is aimed squarely at the enterprise infrastructure level including VMotion and many of the remote managing and load balancing tools.

Nevertheless, the VMWare Virtual Server could come in very handy. Create custom VMs with Workstation, and deploy to Virtual Server. Create throwaway, self-contained test environments. Have a complete, ready to run backup image of your existing systems.

Already available are VMWare Player VMs containing web browsers, firewalls, and more. Definitely keep and eye on the VMWare site for updates via their RSS feed to se where developments are headed.

Posted on February 7, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

OpenOffice 2.0 Released, Free Office Software Suite Supports OpenDocument Format

Ushering in a great alternative to vendor lock-in around specific office software, OpenOffice 2.0 has hit the download servers. The office suite sports a new interface, a database engine (with a Java-based SQL engine for portability... this sounds like a very interesting aspect of the release) and the much-anticipated OpenDocument file format.  OpenDocument is an XML file format standard that is free to use and is designed for easy developer comprehension, in order to promote the development of many tools around it.

From "With a new user interface, 2.0 is easy to learn and use by the most inexperienced user, and is significantly more compatible with Microsoft Office files than prior versions. Supported by dozens of professional companies, 2.0 will be available in more than 60 languages. Able to run on Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, Sun Solaris and other platforms, is increasingly the choice of businesses and governments throughout the world, and earlier versions have been downloaded over 49 million times since the project's inception."

Visit the OpenOffice website for the free download and for more details on this exciting project. I've pointed many friends to earlier versions, as an answer to their complaints about the cost of other office software, and I'm looking forward to testing this out for recommendations as well.

Posted on October 20, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack