[AUUG-Talk]: MEDIA RELEASE: OSIA to Gartner: Get A Clue over Desktop Linux

Con Zymaris conz at cyber.com.au
Fri Oct 1 18:57:07 EST 2004

[Feel free to disseminate]

OSIA to Gartner: Get A Clue over Desktop Linux


Australia -- 1st October, 2004
This week we have seen numerous reports in the trade press referring to
Gartner UK analyst Annette Jump claiming that pre-installing Linux on
PCs encourages piracy of Windows. 
We dispute Jump's conclusion and her figures. Without a fully specified
methodology and a presentation of all the raw numbers and polling
methods, these findings are extremely dubious. Additionally, Jump's
logic is problematic at best and farcical at worst.

"Firstly, let's get the key fact out of the way," said OSIA spokesperson
Steven D'Aprano. "There is no advantage to PC resellers in using Linux
as a means of shipping lower price PCs, which in turn are used to pirate
Windows. These PC vendors can simply ship a PC without any operating
system at all! This would make the resulting computer even cheaper than
deploying Linux on it, as zero effort is needed to image the system. If
PC vendors are selling computers with Linux pre-installed, that can only
mean there is demand for Linux on the desktop."

The Linux community is opposed to software piracy in all its forms.
There is no advantage to the Linux community in using pirated Windows. 
The only one who benefits from piracy is Microsoft itself. As Jump
herself admits, "Microsoft closed its eyes to counterfeiting, actually
preferring that users turned to phoney versions rather than go to Linux.
[This would] lock users into other Microsoft products." 

If Gartner's conclusion that pre-installing Linux encourages people to
steal copies of Windows were correct, then we can extend this tenuous
logic by stating that pre-installing Windows in turn must clearly
encourage people to pirate application-level software; if there was no
Windows OS on the PC, then users couldn't pirate other products like
Photoshop, Microsoft Office or Dreamweaver which need Windows in order
to be used. One can quickly see how this process of thought leads to
ridiculous conclusions and we are surprised that Gartner started down
this path.
"If Microsoft has a problem with piracy, it shouldn't be blamed on OEMs
who sell PCs with Linux pre-installed or no operating system at all,"
continued D'Aprano. "Should we discourage supermarkets from selling
plain bread, because shoppers might steal butter from elsewhere? To
discourage vendors from selling PCs with Linux installed because of the
hypothetical loss of revenue to Microsoft goes against the spirit of the
free market. While Microsoft seeks to avoid competition in the market,
the Linux community believes in the free market. We have a better
product at a cheaper price and Microsoft can't compete except by blaming
us for piracy."
"Gartner would have been better served by observing the historically low
incidence of illegal copying of open source software products and the
clear business benefits this provides to economies. As such open source
software can contribute billions of dollars to local economies by
reducing software piracy. After two decades of closed source's failure
to address rampant piracy, open source provides the only credible, and
successful solution to the problem. If it was serious about the piracy
problem Gartner would be out there supporting preloaded Linux,"
concluded D'Aprano.

- - -

About Open Source Industry Australia Limited.

OSIA is the industry body for Open Source within Australia. We exist to
further the cause of Free and Open Source software (FOSS) in Australia
and to help our members to improve their business success in this
growing sector of the global Information and Communication Technology
(ICT) market.


Spokesperson/Contact: Steven D'Aprano
Phone: 03 9621 2377
Email: media at osia.net.au

- - - END - - -

Con Zymaris <conz at cyber.com.au> Level 4, 10 Queen St, Melbourne, Australia 
Cybersource: Australia's Leading Linux and Open Source Solutions Company 
Web: http://www.cyber.com.au/  Phone: 03 9621 2377   Fax: 03 9621 2477

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