Microsoft Linux? Or Microsoft Unix?

from the heard-this-before... dept

Ryan writes “Microsoft working on a version of Linux? Mike Elgan writes that the Redmond company is losing its grip on the government market, and when the corporate market falls it will be motivated to release its own Linux distribution. Microsoft Linux may soon be more than just a hoax!” Of course, the argument isn’t based on any actual knowledge, but just a reasoned guess. This rumor/prediction seems to pop up every few months, and I usually just ignore it. However, now, the latest I, Cringely column has a much more well reasoned analysis of why he thinks Microsoft is going to launch their own Unix. He thinks that’s the real reason behind their recent licensing of Unix IP from SCO. They realized that if they’re going to launch their own Unix-style operating system, why not make it actually Unix, instead of Linux? As I said, these rumors (and hoaxes) have been around for ages, so I wouldn’t put too much weight into them at this point.

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Comments on “Microsoft Linux? Or Microsoft Unix?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Brands of Unix Junior

Windows, which is/was a GUI wrapper around DOS, is Unix Jr. Linux is a Unix Jr. which also often adds GUI wrappers, though they don’t want you to call it windows. And human nature being what it is, we have a cacophony of incompatible Linux step-siblings. Can I be a heretic and say that the combined cacophony of Unix/Linux dialects serves to strengthen Windows all the more? Windows will have learned how to make their OS more developer-friendly, and strengthen their position in the end.

thecaptain says:

Re: Brands of Unix Junior

Nice astroturf…

Linux never claimed to be a Unix Jr, merely Unix-like. Its flavors aren’t incompatible, a linux kernel is a linux kernel. Sure you can argue about rpms, or tgz, but for the most part, what compiles in one, compiles in all with minimal fuss.

There’s no “cacophony” of linux dialects and standards…there’s choice. Something you don’t always have with windows.

Its not for everybody, that’s fine…but seriously, you should learn a bit more about what you are talking about.

Adam Barr says:

Why would Microsoft need a Unix?

First of all Cringely, like most geeks, conveniently ignores the effect on Microsoft’s product line that a version of Unix would cause. Do they port all their server apps to it? How do they tell customers what to buy? Then they have to support two different products…and why?

Microsoft already has a product that they consider to be better architected and more advanced than Unix (that product is NT for those following along at home). Now it’s true they are having trouble getting NT to be the “sturdy server operating system” that Cringely envisions, but that is because they keep throwing features in. Presumably if they did the same to a version of Unix (which they would, of course), it would be just as vulnerable.

And if Microsoft wanted to ship an OS with a great command-line shell and Unix utilities and daemons, it could just bundle them with NT (or Windows Server 2003 as it is known now). In fact such utilities already exist and the code is owned by Microsoft. Cringely describes this as a “hybrid” of Unix and NT but it would be more like 99% NT and 1% Unix, with the Unix part layered on top like so much frosting on top of a cake.

Now I think I had heard that one of the reasons Microsoft did not bundle all that stuff (I mean things like ksh, a good telnet daemon, grep, etc) despite owning code for them, is because of licensing issues, so maybe THAT is what is behind the SCO license, but if Microsoft actually did this, it would be an epic case of cranial-gluteal removal, because I still think the company just doesn’t “get” Unix and command-line tools, as I have written elsewhere.

– adam

Csharpener says:

Re: NT 3.1 will be a better UNIX than UNIX

Microsoft, when they first started shilling NT, one of the pitches was ‘NT will be a UNIX than UNIX’

They also called the idea of running your programs on a central server and using terminals to display the results “outdated”.

Let us also not forget bill gates also said no one would ever need more than 640k of RAM. I’m sitting at 1.5 gb at the moment.

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