First, let me thank those who took the time to alert me last week to the agreement between Red Hat and Microsoft on holding hands in the cloud. All the concern shown in the emails and social media posts were completely welcome, and could be broken up into two basic sentiments: curiosity about my reaction and serving me some crow to eat.
To the former, I would offer sincere thanks; to the latter, I’d offer an invitation to bite me.
But on the whole, let’s not make this Red Hat/Microsoft agreement into a bigger deal than it actually is.
From a business standpoint, Red Hat is eating Microsoft’s lunch. No surprise there, even though Red Hat is throwing the foundering Microsoft an innovation life preserver it clearly doesn’t deserve. No, Microsoft is not in danger of losing their monopoly on foisting inadequate software on an unsuspecting public through a monopolistic stranglehold on computer makers, but they’re foundering in a sense that most, if not all, of the pertinent tech innovation has been coming from the FOSS side of the street.
Let’s not forget this: A world of FOSS sans Microsoft would easily thrive and grow — we’ve already proved that — as opposed to a world of Microsoft without FOSS, which would pretty much be an unimaginable horror on a technological level.
It remains to be seen how this arrangement between Red Hat and Microsoft plays out, and if any entity is going to go toe-to-toe with Microsoft and not be swallowed up by the evil empire, it would be Red Hat. In other words, you want to put your greatest good against their worst evil in order to prevail, and that’s what we have on the proverbial stage in this scenario.
To those who consider this the dawn of a new era, please put away the hyperbole. It’s embarrassing. It may be a new dawn, all right, but it’s more like the glow of the bathroom light immediately after waking up on yet another morning.
Also, allow me a friendly reminder to those willing to embrace Microsoft as their new buddyroo willing to be a partner in the FOSS realm. Rather than being a full participant — willing to pull their share and contribute their offerings for the greater good — Microsoft so far has been the annoying “me too” little brother who contributes nothing to the upcoming experience, but you have to take him along because Mom said so.
In other words, business gains aside, do we really need Microsoft or do they needs us?
While it’s true that we’re past the Ballmer “cancer” era, let’s be clear on this issue: Microsoft only “loves” Linux because it has come to the realization that it needs Linux and FOSS to survive. I’m not willing to accept this “love” as sincere, and until Microsoft decides to “walk the walk” instead of just talking the talk, I am going to just have to consider this claim to be, well, complete nonsense.
Finally, let’s not forget the true nature and history of Microsoft, as outlined centuries ago by that famous Greek programmer Aesop:
“A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, ‘how do I know you won’t sting me?’ The scorpion says, ‘because if I do, I will die too.’
“The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp ‘Why?’
“Replies the scorpion: ‘It’s my nature…'”
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