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February 24th, 2000

Open source Windows.

Last week a rumor started floating around that, in order to settle its case with the Department of Justice, Microsoft would make the Windows OS open source. Meaning that anyone could see how Windows ticks and – more importantly – change it.

Unfortunately, old Bill Gates denied the report (which had made it to some news outlets) the following day. Essentially, making Windows open source is more detremental to Microsoft than breaking apart the company. It’s the company’s baby. Even if Office sells more, and all of its developer tools outsell that, Windows is the foundation and the key. Microsoft as we know it would no longer exist.

But let’s pretend that WIndows does go open source. Do you know what that means? I can’t imagine that we’d see any instantaneous results, but within a few years we might see Mac OS X run Windows applications. Corel Linux could run Windows applications. BeOS could run Windows applications. The possibilities would be incredible. I love BeOS, for instance, and it’d be great if I could run Dreamweaver on it.

What of Microsoft? Well, they’d dump more money into advertising and marketing, assuring people that Microsoft Windows is the original, true windows. Maybe MS wouldactually have to improve their OS! Imagine that.

But if open source Windows doesn’t happen – and the smart money says it won’t – Microsoft stands an extremely good chance of being broken up into smaller companies. Again, I don’t think this will really affect things in the short-term. Microsoft will still have a stranglehold on the PC market, no matter how much steam Linux gets. It’s sad to say it, but it’s just too late to do anything like that. We live in a Microsoft world, sadly. -pm

Posted in Technology

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