Dealing with Microsoft is "like kicking a puppy," declares Jim Zemlin to Network World on Monday. Zemlin, the right-hand-man to Finnish radical and hacker turned Portland software mogul Linus Torvalds says that Linux-inspired technology has overpowered Microsoft's grip on the market in every category they deal in. But if Zemlin is right--and it's certainly debatable that he is--then Linux's victory is less for its particular products than for the idea that open-sourced communism works as a technology business model.
Comrade Linus Torvalds.
When Torvalds created the original code or "kernel" of Linux, his idea was that others could use it to create their own software applications. This isn't so unusual, but Torvalds didn't charge anything to use the kernel (gasp!), instead offering a kind of licensing arrangement called a General Public License, where the source code was released to the public for free while the original coder--him--retained the trademark.
Then, like now, people who work on the code are rewarded for the time they invest in the products that sell on a kind of share-and-share-alike basis, and the whole thing spins round in a big commie circle.
But at the same time, red-blooded capitalistic companies like Red Hat and Novell offer classic subscription services that update Linux software and function as any typical software company found in the States.
Comrade Jim Zemlin
This arrangement has allowed Linux software to seep into countless areas of the tech world, from servers to smartphones to laptops and televisions, all to the great dismay of Microsoft and other tech giants who've consistently referred to Linux as "communism" and a threat to entrepreneurship--namely theirs.
So when Zemlin says "I think we just don't care that much [about Microsoft] anymore," and holds Microsoft's (however imaginary) bloody head high and declares victory, he doesn't do so for Linux but for "The Party" of Linux and all its comrades.
The major problem for Microsoft and for other traditional tech firms is that all those pinko "comrades" they detest are doing pretty well for themselves.