Friday, September 11, 2009

FUD from Microsoft to Best Buy employees against Linux

I made a posting onto facebook about this article:http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2009/09/microsoft-teaches-best-buy-employees-how-to-troll-linux-users.ars This posting is a response that was too long for facebook to comments on that posting, most people can skip over this unless they are interested.

Marketing is all good, it is fine to say Ford > Toyota. But to say Ford > Toyota because Toyota can't use Ford parts is a bit underhanded. What is worse, they use tactics like this:

Windows is better because it uses MSN Messenger and mail and photo albums. Those things aren't supported on Linux.

In reality, I am chatting right now with MSN Messenger friends, and could easily access Hotmail or whatever the name of the mail service is these days, people have been checking Hotmail from this computer running Linux all week with NO issues.

True the native client (MSN Messenger) is not supported, but the Linux community would love to have Microsoft build packages or release the source code so that it COULD be installed. Rest assured the reasons that there is no MSN Messenger native client is because Microsoft has chose NOT to release one. So to count this as a strike against a Linux OS seems a bit unfair.

Here are some other points of contention:
  • Media compatibility: there are TONS of media players for just about every format around. The ONLY formats that give a significant hassle are the DRM formats, and guess what, they are proprietary and the ability to play them are controlled by those license holders (Microsoft, Apple, etc). If people were INFORMED about the consequences of their choices they might choose differently. Like if you archive/purchase your content in this format someone else can tell you how/when you are allowed to play your content. To say that Linux doesn't have support for such formats as MP3 is insane, and plainly untrue, on the very site the slides reference for support of the claim that Linux has poor MP3 support lies this page: http://www.linux.org/apps/all/Multimedia/MP3.html which lists no less then 115 applications for playing MP3's. I can assure you there are many more. Not to mention the many Windows MP3 players that can be played through technologies such as WINE. I tried to check the Windows 7 compatibility information referenced as a source of the comparison to Linux, but it says “Windows 7 Compatibility Center Coming Soon!” http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-7/Default.aspx

  • Authorized Support: You say potato (http://support.microsoft.com/) I say potato (http://www.ubuntu.com/support, https://www.redhat.com/apps/support/, http://www.novell.com/linux/services_support.html) So what is not authorized about Linux support?

  • The list of reasons that customers should choose Win over Lin: Hopefully this is not meant to be an “all questions are correct” type of thing. Because Internet connection? Values? Hardware? Etc etc etc. This is like saying you should buy a Ford over a Toyota because Toyota's don't actually drive. Saying untrue statements, while a common sales technique is not what I expect from Microsoft... I hope they would be a bit above that.
  • Linux doesn't support Zune Office 2007: Again Fords are better because you can't use Ford parts in your Toyota. Come on! I could turn this around and say that Linux is better because it doesn't run the Linux Kernel... duh! This is leaving out things like WINE and Crossover Office that DO allow you to run all the applications listed (except zune) on a Linux box.

  • Updates: Ok, my Linux machine has an update function that works a lot like windows updates. I've had WAY less issues with my updates vs updates on the Windows boxes that I use/administer. This same sentiment has been conveyed to me via other people I know who use Linux.

  • Security: This is hotly debated, so i'm not even going to bring this up... this post is getting too long already.


To quote the article, and echo my sentiments:
“This Microsoft training material for Best Buy retail staff is deliberately attacking Linux. While there are correct assertions in the slides, the majority of the statements are inaccurate, or are only accurate in the specific way they are worded.”


To deliberately use wordplay to “win” your captive audience over seems very shady, and I would expect that a company like Microsoft to use straightforward “Facts” rather then double talk to persuade people.