OSDL says no to Microsoft

OSDL says no to Microsoft

Summary: The report of a meeting between OSDL and Microsoft has raised a few eyebrows this week. To recap, Microsoft's Martin Taylor and OSDL's CEO Stuart Cohen met at Linux World Conference & Expo.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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The report of a meeting between OSDL and Microsoft has raised a few eyebrows this week. To recap, Microsoft's Martin Taylor and OSDL's CEO Stuart Cohen met at Linux World Conference & Expo. Taylor proposed that Microsoft and OSDL do a joint research project for a study of Linux and Windows.

The eWeek report notes that OSDL had only confirmed discussing the idea with Taylor, but not a final response from OSDL. After reading the eWeek story, I couldn't think of any reason why OSDL should participate -- and, for some reason, kept thinking about the fable of the frog and scorpion -- but I was curious whether OSDL was giving it serious consideration.

On Friday, I had a chance to have a short talk with Cohen, and got a definitive answer. Cohen said that "there is no way we would do a joint research project with Microsoft." If OSDL were to participate in such a project, Cohen said that when the report came out, no matter what the broad outcome of the report was, anything negative about Linux would be exploited for marketing purposes by Microsoft.

Setting aside the marketing implications, Cohen also stressed that "no one is clamoring for" OSDL to do a market research paper with Microsoft. (Other than, I suppose, Microsoft...) OSDL does commission white papers and studies from time to time, when it makes sense to do so for their member organizations -- but "nobody's been asking" for OSDL to produce a research project like what Taylor proposed.

It's also worth noting that Cohen's conversation with Taylor was supposed to be off the record, and that he was surprised to see it turn up in the press a short while later. 

Just because OSDL is not interested in Taylor's proposal for a marketing research project, it's not to say that OSDL is unwilling to work with Microsoft. Cohen mentioned security and interoperability as areas where OSDL and Microsoft might be able to find common ground to work together, and as areas where the market would be interested in seeing OSDL and Microsoft working together.

And that's the crux of it. Microsoft seems to be interested in churning out more marketing materials -- and trying to get OSDL to participate in order to give those materials more legitimacy with the general public, because they're not buying Microsoft's "Get the Facts" campaign. At the very least, Microsoft wants to look interested in working with OSDL so it can stop looking like the bad guy.

OSDL, its member companies and their customers, on the other hand, are interested in doing what it takes to make it easier to manage environments with Linux and Microsoft products. If that means cooperating with Microsoft on interoperability, for example, then it's in the best interest of its member companies and the companies and organizations that actually are using Linux. If it's just churning out some marketing material, then it's not really doing any real good -- and could do some harm, by providing fodder for another one-sided "Get the Facts" type campaign from Microsoft.

Nobody needs another "study" from Microsoft about Linux. What organizations need is some real cooperation from Microsoft on interoperability with Linux and open source products. We've had enough marketing.

Topic: Microsoft

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  • interoperability big issue for me

    I would have to agree w/ Stuart Cohen regarding a Microsoft and OSDL joint research project is only a marketing tool for MS to spin anything in their favor.
    However, it would be nice that MS and OSDL did work together for security and interoperability. My biggest beef w/ MS is that they do not play nicely w/ the other OS's. In my datacenter which is a hetergeous environment (VMS, AS400, Tandem, AIX, Solaris, Novell, Linux, MS, and even SCO ... I know, I know), Windows boxes have always been a thorn in my side even though they are the least critcal in my data center. And yes, every OS doesn't work nicely with each other all the time, its just seems MS does it all the time.
    So to make my life easier I would love to see MS play nicely with other OS's (as much as it can) and to work w/ OSDL to make this happen would be good PR.
    dwjunix
  • ...even if MS paid for it all...

    ...there would be such a big rip on the ball you would by hard pressed to get any "real" value as a reader.

    I find it interesting that an "off the record" conversation is leaked to the press almost immediately. Obviously someone involved has no moral or ethical restraints - I wonder who that could be and furthermore (if posted as a defense) if they thought they were simply following the lead of their senior management?

    Cheers, Jiim.
    Jiim_z
  • its pretty obvious OSDL knows

    its pretty obvious OSDL knows that they would loose, so this is just a face saving PR from OSDL.
    zzz1234567890
    • You've already bought MS's marketing message

      If it's so obvious, why does MS ask for the joint study?
      fj_z
      • so there is no more a reason for FUD allegations on Microsoft

        by doing a joing study with OSDL and by sharing the cost, no longer can anyone just claim that Microsoft is creating FUD.
        The truth and facts would be out.
        OSDL definitly blinked first (they lost).
        This was a moment of truth.
        zzz1234567890
  • what poor reporting by Joe Brockmeier

    "On Friday, I had a chance to have a short talk with Cohen"

    And Joe here wrote whatever Cohen had to say without verfying any facts. Did not bother to even check with Martin Taylor of Microsoft.
    Instead Joe here even has some unplesant things to say about Microsoft. Its pretty obvious to me how biased the author of this article is and how callously he passes judgement.
    BrutalTruth
    • Well, this is a BLOG

      So the author expresess more an opinion than an article, for that, the usual ZDNet News and/or C|Net News.com servies are for ;)

      While it would have added a bit more spice to the discussion, pretty much every individual reads these "articles" and posts with their mind pre-made. So it would not matter what the actual content is, people has already formed an opinion. Human behavior fact.

      And this post is not as misleading... The title says "The OSDL says Microsoft NO", so that's pretty much it. About the [b]opinion[/b] of the author regarding ethics and whether or not this conversation between Taylor and Cohen was actually off the record or not, the author here is merely expressing his opinion after a talk with Cohen. Would a conversation with Taylor change things? Maybe not, even if Taylor said Cohen had agreed to ponder the proposal. Just makes evident the author does not like much Microsoft and he may had made rushed judgement, nothing more. If you can't take an opinion for what it is (a presonal and untransferrable way to see things), then why even bother to post?
      thetargos
      • its a blog, I have no credibility and so I write what I like

        "Just makes evident the author does not like much Microsoft."

        Thanks for taking the words right out of my mouth.
        Its pretty evident that the quality of zdnet has fallen to such low standards now.

        Why bother to post.
        Because Windows is a pretty good operating system. Linux is good too but Windows is better.
        If someone can post something bad about Windows I can post to question the author of the post.
        zzz1234567890
    • to straighten out a line of thought..

      "And Joe here wrote whatever Cohen had to say without verfying any facts."

      You seem a little confused.. Speaking to Cohen WAS verifying the facts..
      thirtyeast
      • and you my friend are a lost cause

        I am not the one who is confused. I think you are. Tomorrow Cohen is going to say "the coment takes us humans to heaven. We need to commit suicide to get on the comet". Good luck
        zzz1234567890
    • Jim Allchin to present video evidence

      "On Friday, I had a chance to have a short talk with Cohen"

      <i>And Joe here wrote whatever Cohen had to say without verfying any facts. Did not bother to even check with Martin Taylor of Microsoft.</i>

      As someone has already pointed out: Speaking to Cohen was verifying the fact Martin Taylor had taken an "off the record" conversation with Cohen and was putting the usual Microsoft false spin on it (aka lies).

      What more do you want? Jim Allchin to produce one of his infamous "under oath" videos to support Taylor??
      arny27@...
      • And how do you know that

        As someone has already pointed out: Speaking to Cohen was verifying the fact Martin Taylor had taken an "off the record" conversation with Cohen

        How do you know Cohen isnt telling lies. Cohen says something and you like a donkey just nod your head yes without even thinking for a moment.
        zzz1234567890
        • A convicted abusive monopolist never lies

          "How do you know Cohen isnt telling lies. Cohen says something and you like a donkey just nod your head yes without even thinking for a moment"

          OMG!! LOL! Although there's absolutely nothing to back up your silly assertions ... you're right! Cohen must be indeed be lying! ODSL's hiring of such a cunning and devious executive must be viewed as a nothing short of a vicious and unprovoked attack on poor Microsoft.

          How could I not believe every "off the record" nuance revealed by Martin "Innocent" Taylor the much maligned anti-linux spokesman from a friendly convicted abusive monopolist? (BTW Microsoft was also fined $600 million in Europe for abusing its monopoly there + they are facing an antitrust case in Korea too. What an odd coincidence!? or should that be pattern of behaviour??).

          I'm sure it was just a minor printing error which prompted UK's Advertising Standards Authority to force the withdrawal of a blatantly misleading "Get the Facts" ad in the UK.

          I could go on and on and on .... but you're right "I've nodded my head without thinking again" :-)))
          arny27@...
    • What point in verification?

      [i]And Joe here wrote whatever Cohen had to say without verfying any facts. Did not bother to even check with Martin Taylor of Microsoft.

      Instead Joe here even has some unplesant things to say about Microsoft.[/i]

      I think that Brockmeier should have written it is "Cohen claimed that it was off the record", which is how it would have been written if it was a report in a newspaper. However, there doesn't seem to be any point to getting verification. If Cohen is lying, Taylor will say that it wasn't off the record. If Cohen is telling the truth, Taylor will *also* say that it wasn't off the record; why would Taylor be willing to break an off-the-record agreement, yet not be willing to lie about having done so? So since it's known in advance what Taylor will say, what's the point in asking him?
      Khym Chanur
  • If M$ really wanted to

    publish a "report" about Linux, it should prepare a report on how well Windoze and Linux work TOGETHER. Talk about the areas of cooperation and how to make both OSs talk to each other and interoperate. OH Wait, that was just a DREAM. I need my morning coffee . . .
    Roger Ramjet
  • cooperation on interoperability

    If you've been reading ZD news, you know that MS occasionally works on interoperability, even submitting open source patches to accomplish it. This appears to be done in an extremely selective fashion. Your personal convenience would not receive consideration; a few hundred Windows licenses at a Fortune 10 corporation might.
    I've been told specifically that bugs in visibility of environment variables will not be fixed, as this would facilitate use of open source software.
    tprince@...
  • Why wouldn't Mr. Cohen agree?

    The result of the study would provide benchmarks with greater credibility about the relative performance of Linux and Windows. Certainly anyone who is not directly involved could not object to better information for the public.

    [I referred to Linux, but wonder which distribution would be used.]

    The results would presumably show when Windows is better and when Linux is better at TCO. Once that information is available, providing it to the public obviously does not diminish its validity.

    Microsoft is willing to take the chance. This group of Linux's handlers is not.

    Why should that be?

    Well, the obvious answer is expectation of losing the competition. But believers in Linux tend to be confident their facvorite is better.

    Not enough money?
    Well, because the test should have credibility, Microsoft can't pay the whole amount. But if OSDL passed the hat, at least some people and companies would be interested enough to contribute.
    So that can't be it.

    Let's try a hypothesis.
    Linux is weak in marketing, particularly in its lack of resources. Microsoft is strong.
    If the test determines that TCO is better for Windows in some cases and Linux in others, then Microsoft will be able to blast the results that favor Windows while Linux can only mumble.

    The fact that some Linux backers, like our blog author, suggest that emphasis should be shifted away from marketing indirectly supports this hypothesis.

    Of course, an alternative is the view that emphasis should always be shifted away from Linux's weaknesses, but that implies Linux backers want to live in a dream state, where the product advocated is always perfect and persecuted.
    But rational people wouldn't allow such a dream state to continue, would they?!
    Anton Philidor
    • Re: Why wouldn't Mr. Cohen agree?

      [i]The results would presumably show when Windows is better and when Linux is better at TCO.[/i]

      We already know that. Windows does better at TCO when the research looks out one to three years. Linux does better at TCO when the research considers out beyond three years.

      It does cost money to migrate to Linux. A startup starting out with Linux and FOSS (smart!) of course would see more favorable numbers.


      :)
      none none
      • The average CEO stays for 5 years.

        Even if your observation were correct, Why should one CEO invest to make money for the next?

        [My comment is partly facetious. But it does point to a serious business problem.]
        Anton Philidor
    • Turn the way back machine to several years in the past

      Remember the Microsoft funded study of Samba versus Windows file sharing? Remember how much the numbers favored Windows? Remember how badly Microsoft crippled that Linux box and how much they tuned that Windows box?

      However, when the systems were comperable and uncrippled, Samba came out on top (still does!).

      Microsoft has a proven track record of not playing by the rules. It comes as no suprise that nobody wants to play their game.
      Sabz5150