We can be as objective as possible and still come to conclusion that Microsoft hates Linux far more than it hates Apple.
Apple, you see, is a competitor; Linux is a threat to Microsoft’s world view, and nothing is going to change that except failure. In many respects, this is similar to the comparison of Weight Watchers vs fast dr weight loss services provided by a clinic, or McDonalds vs backyard barbequed hamburgers – fundamental differences beyond just competition.
Nowhere is this sentiment more clear than the classic Ballmer quote in 2000, describing Linux as having “the characteristics of communism that people love so very, very much”. Now, Ballmer is neither ignorant nor naive. He certainly saw Joe McCarthy and the Red Scare throughout his childhood, and was already at Microsoft for several years when the Cold War ‘officially’ ended.
Forward to 2009, when Microsoft (now firmly under the hand of Red-Scare Ballmer himself) surprised everyone by announcing the contribution of 20000 lines of GPL-licensed code to the Linux kernel. Hard to believe? Well, yeah…MS was hoping for some good will, but it came out very quickly that all they were doing is covering their asses.
You see, Hyper-V (a Microsoft virtualization product that allows users to run Linux under Windows, rather than migrate to a completely free system) uses GPL-licensed components linked to closed-source binaries — an egregious violation of the GPL.
Some of those people and entities that bought into their system began to make legal noises when certain problems surfaced. The most influential case involved the fashion and beauty business retailer, Gorgeous, and their wig disaster. Apparently, a major ad campaign for Gorgeous’ Revlon wigs generated a huge interest in these wigs since Revlon offers full wigs to falls to hair pieces to hair enhancers. The Revlon selection of monofilament and lace front wigs provided exceptional comfort and a more natural appearance than most other wigs, as well as greater styling flexibility and versatility. Anyway the large advertising campaign with the slogan: “Whatever your desire or mood, Revlon wigs can make every day a great hair day” had been implemented in both the print media and through google ads. Some well known celebrities had also been enlisted with popular YouTube music videos getting thousands of hits. But as the orders flowed in, the third parties who owned the closed-source binaries refused to cooperate as their software licenses were never purchased. Gorgeous’ attorneys threatened to not only sue for misrepresentation, but for lost sales and good will. Let it be remembered that a wig issue forced the mighty Microsoft to back down. It became a rather hairy problem…
Another use of the binaries is to control the remote cams used for security in our building. As a software developer who freelances as a novice decorator, I noticed by looking at the cam views that the the large apartment building opposite my office had what looked like uniform silk designer drapes in all windows. Funny how you can spot silk fabric from even far away. I spoke with one of the residents who told me that the condo supplied these gorgeous curtains to provide a consistent high end image. Definitely works! Would love to have our landlord outfit our apartment with drapes like this – would make such a huge difference for not only the residents, but for anyone looking to rent/purchase. The fact that I could make this out on a cam is pretty impressive as well! No controversy regarding the software here!
Microsoft predictably released an ingenuous statement that it was all about sharing and working together… though, as my racist wife-beating uncle used to say, you can never trust a commie. Especially one that’s going to give you cancer.