What Microsoft Linux Would Mean

Posted on 2010/11/05. Filed under: Apple, Computing General, Linux General, Microsoft, Operating Systems |

Telling me that it is a bad idea does no good. Like that bad song you hear on your clock radio first thing in the morning and it stays in your head all day, it is an idea that won’t go away. My son who is a Linux user and advocate and I had this conversation about five years ago. I think that it was even before Microsoft and Novell struck a deal. It was pre-Vista because we thought that Microsoft’s next OS could be Linux-based. We thought that it would happen, but are still waiting. (I’m being a Devil’s advocate, so don’t take me seriously or send hate messages)

So, this is just a pretend game. What would happen if…?

Instant credibility

Let’s face it. Desktop Linux is a bit of a joke. They cannot even agree on a name. Some call it GNU/Linux? How silly is that? Linux plateaued along time ago.We have little credibility in the board rooms of the world. Game developers don’t take us seriously.  We are stuck and going nowhere fast.

Microsoft has credibility. It isn’t what it once was, but it would certainly elevate our low standing. There would be Linux games at last and Linux versions of Photoshop and Microsoft Office. We would feel wanted. We would feel important. When the word Linux was mentioned people would suddenly think Microsoft and all of the great associations that brings to mind. We would be right next to all of their great operating systems, Windows 3.11 for Workgroups, Windows 95, Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Linux. We would rate an entry in Wikipedia.

Market Presence

Linux has no market presence. We have no advertising budget. We have no retail experience. We are not even has beens; we are never have beens.

Microsoft Linux would mean that we would be in the stores, under Christmas trees, on TV ads, and come with every new PC. Can’t you just see it now? Apple would make commercials against us. We would be worthy of being dissed on network TV.


Tell somebody now that you use Linux and people ask, “Linux, What’s that?” They act as if you have some disease and promptly change the subject. It isn’t something that you can talk about and expect many people to be able to hold up their side of the conversation. Linux has no status. It is less than zero. Using Linux marks you as someone one who can can read binary numbers which is about as socially useful as having two heads.

But if there was a Microsoft Linux, all of a sudden you would ahead of the curve. You were ahead of your time. Prescient.  You were misunderstood and mistreated in the past, but now we would get sympathy. People would feel sorry for all of those nasty things they’ve said and thought and want to make it up to you. Suddenly, everybody would want to be your friend.

People Would Write Viruses For Us

Admit it. You feel left out. We are unworthy of people writing viruses and putting trojans on our computers because we use Linux. It is like never getting invited to a party. We know they exist because other people tell us they go to parties, but we’ve not actually been to one.

But if there was Microsoft Linux, people would want to write viruses for us. They would want to infect us and we would be honoured to have them do it. It would mean that we had made the big time at last.


We have a leadership crisis. We are a captainless ship, adrift in the sea with no destination in mind. But that would all change if there would be a Microsoft Linux. They would step up and fill that void. We would have a worthy captain in Steve Ballmer and more importantly we would have direction. We would be able to tell all of the other distributions to fall into line or better still to just go away.

We could change standards and Linux practices, if we only had an able captain who would be able to explain it all in terms that we could understand. We would see the error of our ways and fall into line. We would no longer be a diverse and fractious lot. We would be unified under a strong leader and there would peace at last in the Linux community.


Come on you’ve thought about it. Everybody needs money. Why not Linux? We could buy the best developers. We could take over companies and kill innovation. We could write bloated code and nobody would question us. We could force users into buying new computers whenever we chose not to support old hardware. Why are we giving it away when we can charge good money for it?

Not only that. We could be on the stock exchange. We would see LNX drift across the screen when we watch the business news and our heart would leap with joy.


They say that power corrupts, but who cares? The corrupt have power and don’t seem to mind. Because we will now be the powerful and nobody will dare to question us. It is only the peons that worry about trivialities like corruption. Once you have power you are above the fray. You can pay off politicians. You can change laws. You can force your will on lesser individuals.

You become respectable because you hang around with better quality people, not because you have high ideals. If you got convicted of a felony it would not stick. You would become made of Teflon, because you have power.

Ahh! Microsoft Linux. It goes together like peanut butter and bacon. Mmmm Good.


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16 Responses to “What Microsoft Linux Would Mean”

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For the record I don’t think I ever expected Microsoft Linux to replace Windows on the desktop or even on the server. What I *did* expect was for Microsoft to expand its server offerings with its own server-oriented distribution. Windows would still be their premiere OS offering, but they’d be able to sell Linux as well to customers that wanted it.

They could even ship their own Windows-style graphical admin tools. If these caught on it would significantly increase the cost of moving to another non-Microsoft Linux platform.

This is something that the Novell deal gave them. I’m not sure how financially successful that was, but looking back now they may have wanted it to fail. Microsoft can now say that Linux isn’t commercially viable. They tried to sell it, but nobody was interested. Customers chose to pay for Windows over Linux.

Of course, the counter argument is that Linux customers spend lots of money on support from Red Hat (in particular), Canonical, Novell and countless consultancy firms. They want to buy from companies with expertise in the product, and as a newcomer Microsoft doesn’t have much credibility there.

Now that Novell is in trouble, it is more fun to speculate. They could buy any part and sell off the rest. It would give them even more access if they bought Novell’s server side and left the desktop alone. It would help them compete with RH. Netware would be sold off, but I am not sure anyone would want it.
I don’t think that MS Linux will happen, but I’ve been wrong before. You never know with Ballmer and company. If I was them I would be snapping up anyone that has cloud computing to go. But their war chest is not as deep as it once was.

You are too too funny and I enjoy immensely reading your meandering dialogue about Linux. You are a very funny guy, you make me fall on the floor laughing, it is good I have no funny bone!

people to be able to hold up there side of the conversation

their side. Not there side. You are a writer, you should know this.

Go Microsoft Linux!

Proof reading works best when someone else does it. You often don’t see your own mistakes. That’s why writers have editors. Thanks.

It would definitely add some tension to the mix, via wondering if a program would come up or not.

You could finally find out what all your friends are missing by trying out different antiviruses.

Pay up, cuz there’s a new version. It’s actually worse than the current version, but hey, it’s NEW!

Internet Exploder will now work NATIVELY! Our prayers are answered.

Discover the joys of rebooting.

Thanks for playing the game! 🙂

You forgot 3 letters: G P L. These letters are,to M$, like garlic to vampires.
IMHO, this won’t happen. As long Ballmer is the head. Besides, they garnered so much hatred in the community, community won’t help them. Except for team Apologista, which is paid by M$.

The viruses bit people already do. Reason for fanotify in 2.6.37 to enable real-time scanning to slow them down.

Linux lack of leadership is not exactly that. As Linus puts it hurding cats. Microsoft at top will not stop the cats from pulling in different directions.

“Linux has no market presence. We have no advertising budget.” What do you call android. There will be another wave call meego.

Linux kernel has more developers at its disposal than all Microsofts developers. And that is just the kernel. Nothing is to be gained from more money at this stage. Linux already has huge incomes from the supercomputer and embed markets. That dwarfs Microsofts.

Status is about all MS really does offer Linux. Question who status is better. Nokia and Intels or MS. I think I will prefer status from Nokia and Intel threw the meego program. Yes there is a marketing budget for meego since it will require it to complete against the money google threw into android advertisement.

I know you are sort of joking, but…

“Linux has no market presence. We have no advertising budget. We have no retail experience. We are not even has beens; we are never have beens.”

Linux does not need the market – it is not a commercial project. Linux is a computer project. Notice the difference. All those talks about Linux needing advertising comes from people who do not really know what Linux is and why it exists. A nice general article is here: http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm

“People Would Write Viruses For Us”
They do, but it doesn’t change anything. The stereotype that Linux has no viruses because it is unpopular is unfounded and plain wrong. The reason Linux has no viruses that can seriously harm anyone is due to several architectural reasons of a Linux distribution and to the freedom of code, making writing a virus that will successfully propagate literally impossible.

Linux is a commercial project if you listen to Red Hat, Novell, Google or Amazon. It all depends on what you are discussing. Linux is the kernel strictly speaking and not commercial, but it depends on what you do with it. It can become commercial as you add to it and try to sell it or services based on Linux.

I agree with you about viruses. If anyone wanted to do damage they would write Linux viruses because it is the backbone of commercial enterprise. You could take down the internet and many huge corporations. The problem is that Linux and Linux practice makes this to be a very hard task. Instead they go after the soft targets which don’t do as much damage, but spread really fast.

Debian has branches that use Hurd and BSD as a kernel. They are called Debian GNU/Hurd and GNU/BSD because the GNU toolset is the foundation of them all. I’d be happier to hear of a better naming convention than this.

If Microsoft ever GPL’d their kernel there might be a GNU/Windows, but it would come with almost no drivers and be a huge pain in the neck to take it out of the mid 90’s. Closing up the dependence on remote procedure calls alone would take a decade. The company is allergic to GPL3, which negates their already failing patent extortion business, so they can’t really make a GNU/Linux distribution of their own. After the company goes bankrupt, someone using the Microsoft name might try a go at free software, but it won’t be the Microsoft you love to write about above.

I don’t see Microsoft GPLing their kernel. My idea was more that they would pull an Apple. They would use an existing kernel, like Linux or BSD, and take it over. I am sure that their behaviour would not be exemplary, either. Like Apple they would take but not give back. I have nothing to base this on.. wit a minute. They have a track record. What do you think? Would they be good open source citizens, in the same way they were good corporate citizens?

I’ll dismiss the obvious troll that this post (and the whole website, for that matter) is, and just point out that we have in fact had this scenario already come to pass, only with another Unix variant. That was Xenix, which later became SCO Unix. Microsoft held the license for Xenix by 1979.

It isn’t just a matter of license or freedom or features; Microsoft *cannot* *do* a Unix-like system, end of story. No Unix-like system goes along with user enslavement. You have to chop half the features off a Unix system before it is crippled enough to foster lock-in, and then you have CP-M, ie DOS, ie Windows. When Microsoft was frantically trying to throw an operating system together for the Intel 8086 for their first sale in 1980, they knew damn good and well what Unix was and where to find it. They chose not to.

I am not a troll. I am up front that I use Linux, what the post is about. That is an unfair characterisation.

You say, “Microsoft *cannot* *do* a Unix-like system, end of story”. We would have said the same thing about Apple. They cannot do a Unix-like system. But they did. There is nothing to stop Microsoft from doing the same thing. And botching it even worse. Are you saying that Apple users aren’t enslaved or that OS/X is not Unix? Because I would answer yes to both, thus proving that Unix users can be enslaved, if they don’t know it is Unix or don’t care or are sufficiently trusting of the company. I would say that Microsoft is capable of such behaviour and Windows users are capable of being sheep, too.

Besides, I wasn’t being serious in case you did not guess. I was having fun at the expense of both Linux and Microsoft based on stereotypes of both. Thanks for the reply. I like it good or bad.

Great speculating!
*But I think Linux has stronger Leadership than Microsoft.

*”We could force users into buying new computers whenever we chose not to support old hardware.”
This (sadly) happens with Linux too. When there are not enough users and developers for some old driver it will be dropped from Kernel.
(If there aren’t really anybody taking care of it.)

*Comment about “gnu/windows”: I have once forced to use Windows on work couple of weeks (it didn’t boot on CD/USB. BIOS was password protected. Screws were glued [Yes, I planned to swap my own harddrive] ). I run MinGW, X, Bash and several GNU tools and I felt enough comfortable to work with it. It had nothing to do about Linux or freedom, but I then thought I’m running “GNU/windows”.

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