Linus on Microsoft, mostly....
Microsoft really is a fairly interesting vendor in this space. Unlike most proprietary vendors, it's one of the very few ones whose bread and butter comes directly from its commodity market, and even its specialized offerings often sell because of its near dominance of a market that certainly looks to be commoditized over the next decade or so.There's an anonymous comment to this blog entry that says, "The future is *free software*". For some reason, that comment stood out for me. Is that really a realistic view? Think of how much software -- not just for PCs, but for game machines, pervasive devices, etc. -- is out there today. Is there some altruistic movement afoot that will make all software free? I think not. Pecuniary gain is ultimately the primary motivator for many developers and engineers, so the idea that software should be free just isn't a realistic business model.
So it's no wonder that Microsoft is one of the very few players who really don't seem to like open source. Most other vendors seem to see open source as a platform that they can ride on, while to MS it's a threat to how they do business.
That said, I don't see the MS market going away very fast, and I don't see why MS couldn't continue to function as a software company even if they don't control the commodity market any more. In many ways I think MS is in the same situation that IBM was in two decades ago, losing control of the basic market -- and thus the dominance of the market -- but not necessarily going away or even necessarily shrinking.
Link: Good Morning Silicon Valley: An interview with Linus Torvalds > (via John Head)