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Comment on "You Wouldn't Say That if it Was Microsoft"
by Nick — Mar 24
Contrast this to the Linux community's effort to re-create Microsoft software under a different license

The rest of your observations aside, I find this comment difficult to swallow for two reasons. First: unlike Microsoft or Apple, two companies, the people who make Linux work are a community. To that extent, how can you characterize the intent of a community? Within this community are many niche groups, each of which plays a role in shaping the direction and capability of not just the linux kernel, but all Open Source software on all platforms. I think a better source for observation would be in comparing a linux desktop project (Gnome, KDE, etc.) with the equitable applications sold by Microsoft and/or Apple.

Second: as a proponent of Open Source software, I find the idea of re-creating Microsoft products a difficult. Commercial products do provide a "feature bar" which the OSS projects strive to reach in their infantile releases. Even so, in the beginning stages of development, many OSS projects evaluate the function of the feature and give it the critical analysis which is often over-looked in commercial software. Not to imply that all commercial software is poorly written -- man products developed my small companies are top-rate. Just like a small company can fill a business niche and provide a superior product in a focused area, so too do the myriad of open source projects provide a superior product for their users.

Open Source is about choice. I can choose to use a clone of Apple's iTunes, a clone of Lavasoft's Winamp or a music player which fits my needs in a much more refined way. Microsoft Office isn't the best solution for everyone, nor is Open source gives me the freedom to choose. Isn't support of choice and an open market the very foundation of anti-monopoly laws?

Does Apple have a monopoly on personal music players? iPods are very popular, but I use iTunes because I like it's music library management capability. In fact, I can use my ancient Creative Muvo NX through iTunes, supporting my choice. The monopolies arise when the customer can only play music purchased from a single source on the given hardware. Choice is about being able to use iTunes to manage the music I buy from Yahoo! and Sony while listening to that music on a Creative Zen.

When a company locks customers into its products and services and denies access to competitors in the market, the very act of quelling choice, a monopoly is born. After years of this very business model, Microsoft has earned its demonized persona.
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