First they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. – Mahatma Gandhi
That is what is happening in the Microsoft open source wars. Just yesterday I read that Bill Gates is giving a bundle of Microsoft products to low income children in China and other developing countries. There are more hidden costs involved in owning Microsoft software than can be overcome with the $3 giveaway. The recipients will need more expensive hardware, they’ll need anti-virus protection and some spyware protection. Microsoft has spent millions of dollars marketing software in China and so far less than two-hundred-fifty licenses of Vista have been sold. I think this is a crass attempt to kill open source software at its roots. It is doomed to failure and it shows how desperate Microsoft has become. Microsoft isn’t a bad company per se, I’ve used their software for years and much of that experience has been very positive, but in the past six years I’ve seen a tremendous improvement in open source software. Products like Ubuntu’s new Feisty Fawn and Open Office are more than adequate replacements for Microsoft products.