Microsoft Says Linux not Legacy Compatible

By | January 7, 2006

In part one of a three part series on eWeek, Microsoft’s Linux and Open-Source labs tries very hard to debunk the long standing “myth” that not all linux distributions will run on old legacy systems.

The tests, which found that Windows performed as well as Linux on legacy hardware when installed and run out-of-the-box, were done in part to give Microsoft the data it needed to effectively “put to rest the myth that Linux can run on anything.

Ok, lets start from the beginning. The “myth” does exist. But it’s mostly new users that believe it. Most anyone that really has ever used Linux knows that there are some of the more “advanced” distributions that do need more advanced hardware. An important thing to note is that Microsoft tested against Linux “out-of-the-box”. The beauty of Linux is that you can customize the distributions to fit you needs. If you have an old Legacy system, you can strip it down to it’s base code and in 99.9% of the cases will run. Let me see you strip out the extra fluff in your Windows install. How bout stripping out Media Player? How bout letting me use a more processor friendly GUI? I didn’t think so.

“But the average customer is not a technical expert or a Linux developer, so they do not have the skill, or more importantly, the business need, to modify the operating system this way. You could argue that this is why Red Hat and Novell SUSE exist—to provide pre-configured and tested stacks of open-source software so their customers don’t need to modify their systems at that level. That’s the value proposition of these companies,” he said.

Bottom line is this. Windows is threatened by Linux. And most Linux distributions are not necessarily for your Grandma, who has hardly figured out how to check her voice mail. So to some extent, Microsoft isn’t just blowing smoke here. There are quite a few users who would not know enough to use a stripped down distribution of Linux. These users, as a result, are users that would be just as well off with a Windows machine as they would a Linux machine.

The majority of experienced PC users, however, may benefit from the flexibility of Linux the next time they need to fire up that old Celeron 300.

[tags]Microsoft, Linux, Legacy,eWeek[/tags]