Roughly six months ago, Microsoft sent a PowerPoint presentation to electronics retailer Best Buy–ostensibly to help their employees teach customers the differences between Microsoft Windows and Linux. Linux advocates objected to what they called Microsoft’s exercise in “FUD” (“Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt“). However, taking advantage of consumer conservatism is not a sin. In fact, there is a very good reason for this conservatism. Information is expensive, and, unless people are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the new thing/way/system is more cost-effective than the old one, people are simply not willing to spend resources (not just money!) to switch.
With this in mind, Microsoft’s choice to highlight Linux’ reputation for being “of the geeks, by the geeks, and for the geeks,” is simply fair game. It isn’t Microsoft’s fault that traditionally, Linux’ focus on programmer and developer choice tends to leave most users–who tend to be ignorant of computer science–lost. Continue reading