Hey Microsoft! Just Make Your Own Linux Distro!

Posted by: Rea Maor In: Linux and Unix - Saturday, August 18th, 2007

Good old Mad Penguin has gotten onto Digg and Slashdot recently with its prediction of the coming divide in the Linux community, due to the recent Microsoft partnerships with Novell SUSE Linux, Xandross, and Freespire. Rather alarmist of them, I’d say. The simple fact is, less has changed with the Microsoft deals than meets the eye.

In the first place, we have already seen Red Hat, IBM, Mandriva, and Novell SUSE do business in the Linux market for quite some time. There’s been the usual scuffles in the Linux camp over it, but nothing that has proven to be a huge fracture.

The GPL license states, plain as day, that anybody can sell GNU/Linux. You can; I can. You have to bring something heavier to the table than just remastering a few tarballs, if you expect to do business, but just offer some customer support and you’re in! So, come to that, we could even see a Microsoft Linux distro.

Wouldn’t that be an alarming picture? But hey, it’s all GPLed software! If Microsoft decided to, they could just dive in and grab the packages from the public server repositories, slap their branding on it, and start selling it tomorrow – after all, that’s nearly all Red Hat does. Do some of their own coding with it, too. In fact, you could see the partnership deals as a practice test run for doing this.

This would change Microsoft more than it would affect Linux. Imagine, Microsoft, the open-source Linux distributor! They’d still make money at it – even if it’s a small amount. After all, they lose money on projects like the XBox. To a large part of Redmond’s customer base, as long as it had the Microsoft logo on it they’d buy it anyway, even if it was available for free from a competitor in source form.

Because what’s source code to the average computer user? Incomprehensible gibberish, that’s what! Most users still just want what works, anyway, regardless of how it happens. They don’t even want to install anything. If the software business model has shown anything, it’s that price has about zero effect on customer purchase decisions.

Linux has already been dealing with commercial competition since the day it was started. So far, both free software and proprietary software are still here. Either side can wring their hands over the other, but what we have here is a dual market.

So, what about it, Linux geeks? Are you fighting mad over these events? If so, what can you do about it? And if Microsoft just produces their own Linux distro, would there be a market for it? What could you do about that?


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9 Responses to “Hey Microsoft! Just Make Your Own Linux Distro!”

  1. Alan the Great Says:

    I’d love it if M$ did that. If nothing else, they’d make a reliable, open source auto-installer. They seem to be good at making things easier, and with open source they could become reliable.

  2. Rea Maor Says:

    “….They seem to be good at making things easier….”
    I’ll have to disagree with you, the last system they made which was “Easier” was Windows 98 SE, and that was the last time I’ve used anything paid from them.

  3. Alan the Great Says:

    I meant individual tasks, such as installing or updating. The entire operating system would be a notorious clusterfuck, but parts of it would be useful.

  4. Rea Maor Says:

    Yes, yes.. i know.. i’m just playing with you… 🙂
    i’m not a great fan of Microsoft, but they do tend to make things easier.
    It’s not necessarily a good thing, and it’s defiantly, errr… easier.

  5. Alan the Great Says:

    Yes, if it wasn’t for them a whole lot of computer technology wouldn’t exist today. BTW, I have photos of my bottle rocket launcher prototype. You know you want one.

  6. Casey Stamper Says:

    I, unlike many people, don’t think that Microsoft is inherently evil. They’ve made sure that their OS(s) is/are installed on 98% of the systems out there and that is due to their partnerships w/the OEM vendors. Microsoft realized (as do vendors) that people will generally stick to something with which they are comfortable and even if the OS is not bug-free or easy to use, how many people out there have ever seen or used anything different? End-user awareness of alternative OSs is close to non-existent. I use personally use several Linux variants on a regular basis and have been for several years but frankly, I’m most comfortable w/MS.

  7. dev45 Says:

    I do not trust M$.
    you better have the GPL perfect or they will find some way to screw the hole Linux community.

    though even if Microsoft released windows under the GPL and spent $100 Million on Open Source development I still would not like them I have bin Screw by then to much I’m one of the people that got the your going to get sued because Linux infringes on our platens letters (MS. jerks).

  8. Alucard-sama Says:

    I doubt many people would ever pick up Microsoft’s brand of Linux anyway.
    After all, most people stupid enough to do so would wanna stick with windows anyway since it’s familiar, remember change makes stupid people scared. (That’s not saying that Windows users are stupid so nobody flame me over that).

    There are two kinda of people that use Linux (its not quite so black and white but for the most part this is the case), those that use Linux because they hate Microsoft/think Linux/OSS is superior and those that do so for cost.
    Both of these groups wouldn’t buy Microsoft Linux.

  9. LinuxElitE Says:

    haha you all think microsoft is a threat? funny. Apple is using a unix/linux core and they’re getting no heat for it. kinda funny/sad.

    anyone can make their own distro its not hard. its just rather pointless.
    ❗ if you wanna make ur own distro check this guide:
    http://www.cyberpunkcafe.com/page.php?31

    but seriously the only real purpose of microsoft teaming with Suse is so one day suse will be the first linux with a native MS Office suite that microsoft can profit from on the growing linux side.

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