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Ex-MSFT Employee: Microsoft Should Run Linux

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 107 comments

Could you imagine a Microsoft Linux?

Should Microsoft just give up the whole Windows business and switch over to a Linux codebase? A former Microsoft Research employee thinks so.

Keith Curtis believes that not even the well-received Windows 7 will stop Linux from market domination. And in keeping with the "if you can't beat 'em, then join 'em" attitude, Curtis thinks that Microsoft and its customers would be better off if the company ditched Windows and made its own version of Linux.

Microsoft Linux? Strange indeed.

"I think we could all be running Microsoft Linux. I sent an e-mail to Steve Ballmer about this and he said he wasn't interested," he quipped in a NetworkWorld story. "Microsoft could very easily dominate the Linux market if they wanted to. I don't think they should release all their source code ... nobody would use it."

"I just look at their code bases and the world doesn't need any of their code bases," Curtis added. "From the day I started using Linux, I no longer used one line of Microsoft code -- it's been four years now."

Stranger things have happened in the world of the computing industry, but Microsoft abandoning Windows seems like an impossibility. Curtis points out that it wouldn't be a costly venture for Microsoft to dabble in, as Ubuntu was started with about $10 million – just pocket change for Microsoft.

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  • 26 Hide
    burnley14 , November 6, 2009 12:14 AM
    An ex-employee has negative things to say about his former company and how they operate? I'd take his comments with a grain of salt or two.
  • 23 Hide
    Titanius , November 6, 2009 1:17 AM
    That's exactly the kind of thinking that got him laid off.
  • 21 Hide
    brockh , November 6, 2009 12:15 AM
    So this was some guy who was hired by Microsoft to code a few lines in its "Games Explorer" division (consisting of him and Milton sans stapler); with his vast knowledge of the Windows code base and his deep connection with the inner workings of the company he must be a serious insight into what we should really be thinking.

    Wait, I'm just crazy.

    Seriously though, I like how when things like this are posted it never shows the position of the person saying these things and how long they actually worked with the company... He could've been the freaking janitor for all we know who sat up coding for Linux's version of Chrome on his days off who never even used a product for the company he was working for. Ugh.
Other Comments
  • 16 Hide
    leafblower29 , November 6, 2009 12:09 AM
    This is the biggest reverse paradigm ever.
  • 26 Hide
    burnley14 , November 6, 2009 12:14 AM
    An ex-employee has negative things to say about his former company and how they operate? I'd take his comments with a grain of salt or two.
  • 21 Hide
    brockh , November 6, 2009 12:15 AM
    So this was some guy who was hired by Microsoft to code a few lines in its "Games Explorer" division (consisting of him and Milton sans stapler); with his vast knowledge of the Windows code base and his deep connection with the inner workings of the company he must be a serious insight into what we should really be thinking.

    Wait, I'm just crazy.

    Seriously though, I like how when things like this are posted it never shows the position of the person saying these things and how long they actually worked with the company... He could've been the freaking janitor for all we know who sat up coding for Linux's version of Chrome on his days off who never even used a product for the company he was working for. Ugh.
  • -1 Hide
    cruiseoveride , November 6, 2009 12:16 AM
    Imagine? They probably have 1 million versions of Linux under continuous testing and development.
  • 20 Hide
    Abrahm , November 6, 2009 12:20 AM
    Quote:
    Keith Curtis believes that not even the well-received Windows 7 will stop Linux from market domination.


    Right. We haven't been hearing that for years. I have a little secret for you Mr. Curtis. Windows is already dominating the market, and in spite of predictions over the last 15 years, Linux is still less than 1%. Hardly close to market domination.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd like to see Linux with a much bigger market share, but this guy is an idiot just looking for 15 minutes of fame.
  • 6 Hide
    IzzyCraft , November 6, 2009 12:25 AM
    ex Microsoft employee that loves linux big surprise. There hasn't been a movie to linux because many distributions aren't friendly enough for people that can barely use a mac (i'm not counting that a a linux) or windows while being walked-though by their children.

    Although i can't see why business can't transition into a linux base, just need one where you can lock out all users but admins, as job training for even basic things is still common when it comes to computers.
  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , November 6, 2009 12:30 AM
    oh please give me break, everyone said Linux will take over MS 10 years ago, what happen ? Linux is good free for the nerd/technical people, not for average Joe. MS had come a long way from MS-DOS to current Windows 7. Last 15 years working as Unix administrator/Engineer. I had try Linux so many time and it fail me each time, just so many simple application like iTune, or game simply don't run under Linux, and the WINE is joke. One OS can't fit all the need for the people. each OS can do different thing depend on the person need.
  • 6 Hide
    webbwbb , November 6, 2009 12:51 AM
    Microsoft is already running Linux actually.

    http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2003/08/17/wwwmicrosoftcom_runs_linux_up_to_a_point_.html
  • 0 Hide
    rooket , November 6, 2009 12:56 AM
    "Keith Curtis believes that not even the well-received Windows 7 will stop Linux from market domination."

    how can one make this kind of a statement about an o/s that is not user friendly at all. sure linux is powerful and i have used it but you don't see me running it on my computers because it is all command line based and can be very troublesome to install drivers and software in. I like linux fine but as far as mainstream? that is quite a bit far fetched, this ex microsoft employee has a very vivid imagination.
  • 2 Hide
    ravewulf , November 6, 2009 1:02 AM
    Yeah, I'll take my grains of salt on this one. The guy doesn't seem to know much about what he's talking about. Can anyone honestly imagine Microsoft dropping all the work they have done and trying to port everything over to linux AND working on compatibility for all past products that work on Windows?

    And as a lot above me have already said, linux has been predicted to take over for ages and is still less than 1% of the market.
  • 2 Hide
    Hatecrime69 , November 6, 2009 1:06 AM
    rooket"Keith Curtis believes that not even the well-received Windows 7 will stop Linux from market domination."how can one make this kind of a statement about an o/s that is not user friendly at all. sure linux is powerful and i have used it but you don't see me running it on my computers because it is all command line based and can be very troublesome to install drivers and software in. I like linux fine but as far as mainstream? that is quite a bit far fetched, this ex microsoft employee has a very vivid imagination.


    He might mean in the server world, where linux has a much more noticeable presence
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , November 6, 2009 1:08 AM
    Apart from the fact that Linux is not going to be gaining market share, why would MSFT make a linux? First of all, Windows is ridiculously profitable for MSFT, so why ditch it? Second, wouldn't they have to make the linux free/open source for it to be a linux? If not, what's the point? If so, why would MSFT make software w/ it's enormous force and give it out for free?
    Right. It wouldn't.
  • 23 Hide
    Titanius , November 6, 2009 1:17 AM
    That's exactly the kind of thinking that got him laid off.
  • 5 Hide
    ominous prime , November 6, 2009 1:41 AM
    Disgruntled ex employee, move along, nothing to see here. I'm disappointed with this article Marcus.
  • -2 Hide
    ta152h , November 6, 2009 1:52 AM
    Anyone that thinks Unix, any version, will ever make it big is a complete idiot. It's been around since the 1960s, and people have been saying since the 70s how it will eventually take over the world.

    It hasn't, and it never will. Unix sucks. It's a pain in the backside. I've made a lot of money porting applications from Unix to Windows NT, and that's how it should be.

    I'm not a big Microsoft fan, as I still think OS/2 was better, but NT is way better than any Unix variety.

    Another thing is, after using shareware, I've become more convinced it's worth what you pay for it. Apache, MySQL, phpBB are horrible compared to real products. The documentation is horrendous, the support dismal, and they are just not as well finished as real products. If you're poor, especially from countries that don't have money, it's worth it. But, for most people here, it's not worth all the problems.

    Also, I haven't seen Linux gaining market share, even against Vista, which sucked. Against Windows 7, it's going to be harder. If someone were to come up with something new, maybe they'd have a chance. But, sadly, these idiots just keep coming up with new versions of the failed Unix operating system. If it's failed for 40 years to gain widespread market acceptance, why think it will now that NT is more advanced than ever?
  • 3 Hide
    rooket , November 6, 2009 2:04 AM
    Hatecrime69He might mean in the server world, where linux has a much more noticeable presence


    could be. business I work at has enough issues already with linux based nas servers though lol. nothing's going to ever be perfect. linux zealots herald their o/s as being perfect but it is not.
  • 6 Hide
    descendency , November 6, 2009 2:05 AM
    I'm a programmer. MS has the best software development tools in the industry.

    That's why Windows is so popular. Because the bulk of programmers WANT to use MS's software development tools and they work best when developing applications for Windows. So the best software is on Windows.

    That's why Windows is popular. It's cheaper and faster to develop applications in Windows. The userbase being huge helps a lot too though. But that's what will break the tie.

    If MS went to Linux, it would be great for everyone because they would take their development team for MSDN to linux which would drastically improve the overall quality of software development tools in Linux (and therefore over time the software). It would be good for everyone except MS.
  • 4 Hide
    randomizer , November 6, 2009 2:06 AM
    leafblower29This is the biggest reverse paradigm ever.

    Pretty much :lol: 

    AbrahmRight. We haven't been hearing that for years. I have a little secret for you Mr. Curtis. Windows is already dominating the market, and in spite of predictions over the last 15 years, Linux is still less than 1%.

    Linux runs most of the world's most powerful servers and supercomputers. Windows runs home web servers and personal computers only. That 1% figure is only for home desktops. Check the TOP500, where Windows runs 1% and Linux runs 77.4%.

    IzzyCraftThere hasn't been a movie to linux because many distributions aren't friendly enough for people that can barely use a mac (i'm not counting that a a linux) or windows while being walked-though by their children.

    That's not true. Linux is not as Windows-user-friendly, but Windows is not Linux-user-friendly either. They do things differently, but for the person who just wants to surf the web and check emails, both are pretty much the same level of difficulty to use. The difficulty comes from switching between them, but it's not an inherent flaw with either OS.

    rooketsure linux is powerful and i have used it but you don't see me running it on my computers because it is all command line based and can be very troublesome to install drivers and software in.

    Try a distribution from later than 2006 and I'm pretty sure you'll find that the CLI is rarely used for common tasks. For more advanced tasks, the GUI can be used, but the CLI is typically more efficient.

    Oh, and before someone calls me a Linux fanboy, I currently run Windows 7 and no Linux distros, as I am a gamer more than anything else (and too lazy to learn a different OS).
  • 2 Hide
    randomizer , November 6, 2009 2:08 AM
    descendencyI'm a programmer. MS has the best software development tools in the industry.

    Visual Studio is some really powerful software, of that there's no doubt. I wouldn't want to use any other IDE if I didn't have to. It's just a whopping big installation. :( 
  • 0 Hide
    megamanx00 , November 6, 2009 2:09 AM
    It's the little things that keep people from moving to Linux, like being tied to Internet Explorer or their iPod (no itunes for Linux after all). People also like to run their old badly written programs, which is why Win7 has an XP compatibility mode (ie built in virtual machine). Of course for me it's Games, and that darn CS3. Just too many little things, like pasting between flash and some other CS3 app under wine, that keep me on Windows a majority of the time for working purposes.
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