If you thought European governments were hostile toward the Bush administration in the run up to the War in Iraq, that's nothing compared with how they feel about the cost of Microsoft Windows. The EU has already issued a judgment against Microsoft's abuse of its monopoly (under appeal, of course), while the city of Munich jumped to open source even as Microsoft reportedly offered a cheaper deal.
Why the fuss abroad? Animosity toward the U.S. certainly rubs off on the Redmond-based Microsoft, which doesn't have the home-court advantage overseas. Instead, the Chinese have cozied up with Sun's open-source Java Desktop System, and now the Parisian government is threatening to go with open source in a three-year technology initiative. These markets, especially in Asia, are poised for monstrous growth and represent a way for Linux advocates to gain footholds in poorer countries.
Oracle recently announced a partnership with Red Hat to create the Linux Enterprise Applications Porting (LEAP) center in Singapore, with the express intent of getting ISVs to consider Linux instead of Windows apps. And as chairman Bill Gates barnstormed through Asia--including an important stop in ChinaMicrosoft countered by planning to offer cheaper versions of software in Malaysia and Thailand. Plus, Microsoft even offered to slash prices for the Parisian government by 60 percent, an inside source told the AP.
And the Windows/open-source battle is not just heating up abroad. Hewlett-Packard announced it would support popular open-source database MySQL, becoming the first major hardware vendor to offer the low-end database. Open-source databases are starting to gain respect in the enterprise, on the heels of the acceptance of Apache and Linux. In fact, AMR Research found that 43 percent of IT shops using open-source databases say they can handle mission-critical tasks, while 37 percent say they'll be ready for such big jobs within two years.
There have been mixed signals for developers worried about legal issues around open source. In one case, SCO lost a major ruling against DaimlerChrysler related to certifying Unix, perhaps taking one arrow out of the company's lawsuit quiver. But a leaked memo from an HP executive showed his concern about Microsoft suing over use of open-source programs Apache, Sendmail, and Samba. Still, Microsoft, of late, appears to be more intent on settling legal disputes than creating new ones.
Microsoft Slashes Prices, As Paris Eyes Linux - Linux Pipeline
Microsoft has slashed prices by more than half for Paris City Hall, as the French capital considers switching to low-cost, open-source programs.
Microsoft To Explore Cheap Software With Asian Governments - Linux Pipeline
Providing cheaper legitimate versions of Windows could allow Microsoft to gain some share in the lower end of the market, which is fertile ground for pirates.
Open Source Movement Gains Momentum In Asia - Linux Pipeline
Oracle South East Asia has revealed plans to join with Linux distributor RedHat Inc. in an $11.5 million deal to establish the Linux Enterprise Applications Porting center in Singapore.
Open Source, Open Questions - Linux Pipeline
Features due in the next version of MySQL database could add to its momentum--or rob it of its simplicity.
SCO Lawsuit Against DaimlerChrysler Is Thrown Out - Linux Pipeline
DaimlerChrysler's move on April 6 to certify that it hasn't used that version of Unix for seven years deflated SCO's claims.
Open Season On Open Source? - Linux Pipeline
Gary Campbell, former HP exec, believed that Microsoft was preparing a legal onslaught against open-source software that would have dwarfed SCO's current legal antics.