The Bitter  Network Administrator

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History Lesson 10
by William M. Nett

Pathologically, history has always repeated itself. It is also understood that people have resisted change since the beginning of time... yet history has also shown that change is always inevitable. Sure the telegraph was an incredible invention as well as Marconi's radio and Mr. Bell's telephone, but today its packets, streaming audio, and VOIP (Voice Over IP). While we humbly thank our technological grandfathers, we have ultimately moved on to improved and condensed mediums because of cost, ease of use, and demand.

That being said, can Mr. Gates hold his throne forever? History dictates that this is impossible. Consider the original clone wars... the mid 80's. The gladiators were Apple, Atari, Commodore, IBM, Tandy, and Texas Instruments (sorry if I forgot anyone). All of these gladiators held proprietary systems wherein the OS was confined to the hardware's chipset instructions. All were awesome and unique in power... and then Mr. Gates dropped the Daisy Cutter (A big bomb.) He released MS DOS... a portable OS that could work on 'any' IBM PC compatible computer. This was a smart move since IBM held a huge market share on computers in both the desktop and server communities.

Now, Mr. Gates wants to return to the non-portable OS. Activation codes, the desire for the return of the chipset specific OS, and licensing restrictions... anyone else here see the repeat? If memory serves me correctly, this is the same business model that sunk Commodore and forced them to sell out to ESCOM (Located in Germany). Too little too late, ESCOM came up with inferior emulation boards to compete with Microsoft which by then was releasing Windows 95, a revolutionary GUI OS. IBM lost the desktop to clones, and Microsoft was well on it's way to dominance... and everyone said, Commodore who?

Now a new OS is emerging... Linux. It's not 'owned' by any one entity, and therefore Microsoft cannot attack it, buy it out, or compete with any one company... though they 'have' tried and failed miserably. I know that many people are quite comfortable with Microsoft, and can imagine that the same voices/lamentations were heard about IBM's closed source code back in the 80's.

Ok, so I'll play along and acknowledge that 'most' (90%) of Linux users are advocates and borderline estranged fanatics. History however, shows that they may be right... they certainly have the drive. Microsoft wants to go back to the egg from which it came from based upon it's wide acceptance. Yet
a new egg is cracking open revealing a penguin called 'Tux'. The bird 'OS' is free and bares a strong resemblance to Microsoft's 'mobile' OS... but Linux is owned by no one, and Microsoft is scared. Enough so, that it's offering a conversion cost offset, by offering to come back at a reduced cost. Didn't IBM do this back in the 80's? If memory serves me correctly, they had similar success... none.

Don't get me wrong, I love Windows... It plays all my games, accommodates all my P0rn, and only takes about twice as long to install (drivers, ugh). For those reasons I will keep it. If however I had power to control desktop user's Operating Systems at my work, I would bet that my company would have greater productivity output if they had Linux. Sure, initial headaches would require several bottles of aspirin, but in the end... history's cycle would be complete, and once again, and I would still have a job, as 'The Network Administrator'.

"Neither the chicken nor the egg... it was an embryo in a developing
shell" - W.Nett

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