Despite Moral High Ground, Linux Still Needs
By Stephen M. Lawton
409 A.D., Honorius, ruler of Rome and the Western Empire, refused to negotiate
with his brother Alaric, who then led the Visigoths in a siege and eventual
occupation of Rome. Honorius' lack of vision eventually led to Rome's
downfall, as Alaric and his forces took what they needed and burned what
stood in their way.
What have we learned from history?
Aside from realizing that nothing lasts forever, it seems that the Boys
of Redmond finally learned what everyone else has seen for some time
that the penguin is more than just a flightless bird.
Linux, of course, has been dubbed
by many in the press (but not MicroTimes) as the heir-apparent
to Windows. While it conceivably could be a significant contender, it
has yet to garner the critical mass of applications it needs to be a first-tier
Rumors have been running rampant for
more than a year about a Linux version of Microsoft Office, and Microsoft
insiders have confirmed those rumors to MicroTimes. But where is
it? Inquiring minds want to know.
Microsoft's $135 million investment
in Corel Corp. is interesting, but not because Corel publishes WordPerfect.
Rather, Corel has been one of the most vocal formerly PC-centric companies
that have embraced Linux.
Apple Computer already took the Linux
plunge. MKLinux, an Apple portfolio company, has an offering that looks
and feels a great deal like Linux, but it does not contain all of the
"guts" of Linux. Personally, I think it's about time Apple made
strides outside of its traditional base (OSX is based on FreeBSD.)
By keeping its operating system and
hardware proprietary, Apple has failed to live up to its potential in
the business market. Linux could be a significant weapon in Apple's arsenal
to regain its former glory. But please, Steve, if you decided to jump
into Linux with both feet, don't add "Apple extensions" to make
the resulting OS proprietary. An Apple-only version of Linux will keep
lots of applications from your users programs you certainly don't
want to recreate. Be smart. Be humble. If you plan to run Linux, make
it a true Linux.
There is a proverb that states, "Rome
wasn't built in a day." For supporters of Linux, even if you have
the moral high ground, as many open-source supporters maintain, that does
not mean you will have the final victory at the end of the day.
Remember, before Alaric sacked Rome,
he lost several battles. And even after successfully defeating Rome, he
only survived one year.