Linux v. Microsoft: Third World Showdown

Friday, September 15, 2006

So, in the brewing battle of Windows vs. Ubuntu, Mark Shuttleworth’s stated belief that “software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local languages and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customize and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.

“If you think that’s all standard Linux/Open Source talk, you’re right. The difference is that instead of trying to convert school systems, governments, and enterprises in the developed world, Ubuntu is attacking Windows in it’s soft underbelly – Africa, Asia, Latin America, and those places around the world where the money for a software license is more urgently needed to feed a kid a hot breakfast every day for six months. On Monday, CNET had an interesting profile of South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth who, not satisfied with being the world’s second space tourist and the first African in orbit, has created Ubuntu, the most user-friendly version of Linux yet available for desktop and laptop computers. Shuttleworth is using Ubuntu to take on Microsoft globally, but especially in places where low incomes make paying Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT – News) licensing fees impractical.

“The horse is too small, the jockey too big, the trainer too old, and I’m too dumb to know the difference.”
— Charles Howard, Seabiscuit

First, Crow is On the Menu Tonight
Those of you who have followed Silicon Hutong for a while will know that I have long been a Linux-skeptic, believing firmly that despite its obvious advantages on servers, Linux would never be in a position to displace Windows on the desktop.

Well, I was wrong.

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