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NY Times Covers Microsoft Attendance at LinuxWorld

On Friday, The New York Times published a preview of the LinuxWorld trade show focused on Microsoft's attendance at the show. The article says that this is Microsoft's first time at LinuxWorld as an exhibitor-- true enough. However, it goes on to state that "Linux has failed as a desktop alternative to either Microsoft's Windows or Apple's Macintosh operating system", citing as proof a report from International Data Corporation that Linux sales fell in 2001.

It's hard to know where to begin to rebut this. Many of our readers know that Linux can be legally installed without paying a license fee. Furthermore, the same copy of Linux can be installed on multiple personal computers regardless of how the operating system was obtained. Finally, Linux is bundled into certain server-based application products, and the licensee has the option of installing Linux or another UNIX-based operating system during server deployment.

Any attempt to quantify the number of Linux machines in service based on the reported sales of shrinkwrapped copies of Linux is bound to be an understatement. The New York Times loses credibility when it falls into this trap. This article would be much more relevant if it did not being with a questionable pretense. For what it's worth, Doc Searls and Dave Winer have both weighed in on this article with similar conclusions.

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