Microsoft vs Free/Open Source Software: What’s the score as of now?

Hello GeeK people there! 🙂

The first quarter of this year came to us with a lot of memorable news and as usual in technology business, with many surprises. On the other hand, the tough fight between Microsoft and the Free Software movement never stops and headlines are popping up all the time around Internet news sites. There is always fun for techno-readers, isn’t there? Thinking about it, I decided to write this post.

Sneaking around some weeks ago, I found this bunch of interesting news:

After reading these articles, I had the feeling that something big is coming up… but don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to sound radical, I mean, the empire isn’t over and surely, a lot of years will pass by before Microsoft loses its worldwide monopoly. The real question is: How much power is losing Microsoft? Do you dare to give a percent in relation to past years? This issue picked my curiosity, even more, when the Internet media is full of FUD and disinformation. For example, my programming teacher told me about a Microsoft’s Campaign called “Get the facts”. Did you know it? I wrote about it before.

Things are changing, no doubt about it, but how far? I have no access to confidence numbers (though I was investigating about it in the Internet for days), and I guess too few people around the world really have it; you know, it’s a matter of business and besides, a very funny point: everything in technology is about bluffing, isn’t it? at least, that’s my impression every time I read the interviews to any CEO.
They are always trying to make you believe in something… but usually, the facts are absolutely different.
It’s like when Steve Ballmer blamed pirates for poor Vista sales, did you believe that? come on! I mean, the poor Vista sales have nothing to do with its excessive hardware requirements? or the high number of bugs people found while they used the operating system? With a simple search, you can find thousands and thousands of forums and blogs from users talking about it and even more.
When they launched Vista, from my point of view, they released a bugs storm (the product simply wasn’t ready) and that’s an irony, because Microsoft tried to “get the facts” to hold the market but now, the real facts have came back, but to strike it. So, What’s the lesson? Maybe: never play with facts.

But, let the past to pass… and let’s think about the future. Right now, the people in Redmond is fighting against the clock to get ready their new product: Windows 7. Ok, reading from Wikipedia I found this: Windows XP was released in 2001, and Vista in 2006. Five years passed by between these versions, and although Windows 7 will be developed in three years (in theory), Bill Gates has mentioned it could be released within 2009 (smell like bluffing? of course!). The million dollar question is: Will Microsoft make the same mistake it made with Vista? What could happen with Microsoft if Windows 7 becomes another buggy version of Vista? I wonder whether the market can resist another global bad product or the Redmond’s giant can hold its power forever (no matter of mistakes they do) just using money and influences. If you can remember, Microsoft has been involved in many scandals far away from business issues, I mean, political affairs. So, Are they invincible? What do you think? Make your bet! 😛

This topic reminds me my History class in high school. My teacher said that slavery was a business model some centuries ago, then French revolution came bringing to the world the declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen. Many countries started to abolish slavery and a lot of people tasted the flavor of freedom for the first time in their lifes; but the thing wasn’t so easy. Slavery dealers had money, and with money you always can buy power, you know, politicians. So, in some countries freedom came later, because laws were modified to prolong slavery legally.
Now, I see something similar, people demands free access to software, to source code, but big companies don’t want to lose their power, so, they are doing exactly the same thing slavery dealers did a long time ago. Are we repeating history? My teacher used to say: “History is a loop” and I think he is right; after every empire, there is a revolution and then, the next empire (so on). Is this part of our human nature? Fortunately, the wish for freedom too 🙂

For now, the Free/Open Source Software movement keeps surrounding the planet with the strong support of companies like Canonical, Novell and RedHat and users (including me!!! :P), like a big army of small ants; quietly but working hard all the time. When I think about it, that’s makes me feel good (I have to say it).
But, How far is the Free Software from conquering the 50% of the global market? I hope we are close to, the point is… How close? What’s the score right now? Any idea?

Chores time. College is getting tough… see you later pals! 🙂


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