Will Microsoft do a Linux?

by Bharat Suneja

The ever-so-opinionated John Dvorak in PC Mag:

People are always looking for the be-all-end-all super-perfect Linux. It will never happen until Microsoft does Linux. Oops. Did I say that?

Excerpt from the column: Has anyone besides me noticed that Linux has become the oddest “flavor of the day” product ever marketed to the computing community? We go from one distro to the next every few months, each one being touted as the “best”. That version soon loses momentum and a newcomer takes its place. A few of these one-hit wonders stick around and develop a following but are never considered trendy again.

Just checked www.linux.org/dist – it spews out a list of 205 Linux distributions!!

Will Microsoft ever do a Linux distribution? Some conspiracy theorists would like the world to believe it’s in the works. Some would actually prefer Microsoft go that route in a full-hearted embrace of the open source OS. It would be amusing to see a Linux distribution that actually feels and looks like the real Windows, only if to have some of the existing Linux vendors stop trying to do the same. However, as of now, a Microsoft Linux distro doesn’t seem very likely.

Besides, Redmond doesn’t really need to unleash its own Linux distribution on the world to beat the Linux crowd. It’s been trying to do that single-handedly with the number of different editions of Windows.

Think the different versions of Windows Vista – Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate – seen bundled by hardware vendors is confusing at best? Are Windows XP Media Center Edition and the one for Tablet PCs a distant memory? Get ready for a Windows Server editions overload. Microsoft currently ships Windows Server 2003 (SP2) and Windows Server 2003 R2. We’ve been seeing the Standard, Enterprise and Data Center editions, a little-known and even-less-publicized Web edition, Small Business Server Standard and Premium editions, and a Windows Storage Server (yes, Windows Storage Server is considered a Server OS check here). Most of these ship in 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64 and/or Itanium) editions. On the horizon – a Windows server version for the remote office, and one for the home!

Though I like the ideas behind Home Server, I hope it won’t branch out into even more flavors – like the Home Server Small Family Edition, or a Home Server for Grandma Edition. Maybe I’ll seriously consider an alternative to Windows if I see a Home Server In-Laws Edition.

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