2009-09-06

"FUD of the Year" from Microsoft

Well, folks, it's another day and another round of FUD from Microsoft. However, this really does take the cake for "FUD of the Year".
(For the uninitiated, "FUD" stands for "Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt". It's a really slick marketing move where a company uses vague phrases to create fear in consumers of an opponent's product without fighting it in concrete, rational terms. Microsoft is not the only company to do it but has been the most high-profile, arrogant, and lying software company to do it in the last few decades.)

Microsoft has felt the need to give the employees at Best Buy a presentation on why Windows 7 is better than Linux. My take on the concept itself will come at the end, but in general, this would be fine IF it didn't resort to a presentation filled half with outright lies and half with statements so vague that it may apply to Windows 7 easier than to Linux.
For those too lazy to actually click the link and to make setting up a context easier, I'm reposting all images from that site here.
For this one, it's funny that they don't mention Mac OS X (especially with v10.6 Snow Leopard coming out), but more on that later.
Also, how can Windows 7 run better on a netbook than Linux? New versions of Linux (like Linux Mint 7 Gloria with Compiz effects) can run well on computers (like mine) that are 5-6 years old (also like mine: 5.5 years old). These computers have lower specs than today's netbooks and don't have a chance of running Windows Vista or 7, yet Microsoft has the audacity to make this claim. Care to back that up with some numbers, Microsoft? I thought not (unless someone else has the time and patience to look it up, which I'd be more than willing to look at).
Follow the jump to read and see the rest of this nasty FUD.

























This one isn't as bad. Compatibility is always relative and usually in this context refers to Windows desktops, as the sad truth is that the majority (though getting smaller every day) of software is still designed for Windows, which has 85% and more of the desktop market share.
In terms of familiarity, this would only be true if everyone who used Windows used Vista, as 7 is (aesthetically) a mild update of Vista. However, for people like me who use XP or prior Windows OSs, the change is bigger than learning Linux (though this is somewhat subjective and changes per person).
Peace of mind is somewhat true also as a function of Windows's desktop market share. Many people still don't know that other OSs besides Windows and Mac OS X (Apple has done an extremely good job of spreading awareness of its OS) exist and will give a blank stare upon hearing the word "Linux". Basically, Linux has a marketing problem that needed to be fixed yesterday. Of course, on the whole, purchases cease to exist as such with Linux due to the vast majority of Linux software (including the various Linux distribution OSs) being free.

























Yikes. This one is bad. Let's go through it one by one.
Every single camera and non-iPod mp3 player that I've tried on Windows works as well or better on Linux - no hitches with detecting the device or seeing its contents. The only iPods that are better supported on Windows are the new Touch models, and that should change shortly.
Printers and scanners have had as good compatibility with Linux than with Windows for years. I've never used a printer or scanner on Linux that didn't work.
Software compatibility is a total cop-out. What software are you talking about anyway?
Windows Live Essentials may matter to the few that use them (as far as I know, not many people use these anyway compared to competitors from Google and the like), but in any case, aren't there web equivalents than can be used on any OS?
Yes, there are fewer games currently supported (officially or unofficially through WINE) on Linux, but their choice of an example was a particularly bad one. WoW often works faster and better both online and locally on Linux than on Windows; it's been well-supported on Linux practically since it came out.
Authorized support is often more comprehensive and cheaper in Linux than in Windows. For consumers, the company to go to is Canonical which maintains Ubuntu. For companies with servers, it's Red Hat (for RHEL). Furthermore, whenever I've found myself in a tough situation in Windows vs. Linux, I often get far better support on forums for Linux because of the ubiquity of user fixes stemming from the openness of Linux vs. Windows.
Lastly, video chat is available on all major networks on Linux as well. Skype has an official Linux client that supports video chat. MSN video chat can be taken care of with aMSN. All others can be taken care of (generally) with Empathy (downloaded) or Meebo (cross-platform web-based).

I'm not going to post the next image because it's simply too subjective. It's a list of clickable words that relate to how Windows 7 is better.

























Again, this relates to a previous slide. Linux supports the exact same (and more) cameras, camcorders, webcams, printers, and scanners that Windows does. Furthermore, support comes right out of the box; in Linux, there's no need to search for and/or install drivers like one must do in Windows.
Also, there are many equally good alternatives in Linux to the programs listed. For most people (except those with an iPod Touch, because for that Apple has locked it such that it can only be accessed in iTunes or in a program like Windows Explorer, Nautilus, Konqueror, or Thunar), Songbird and its ilk are perfectly acceptable alternatives to iTunes, and as an added bonus, Songbird looks and acts almost identically (along with some extra features) to iTunes, easing migration to Linux.
Next, the Zune is fully supported under Linux. Microsoft just doesn't want you to think so.
Quicken is a place for improvement, but there are alternatives like Mint (the site/tax manager, not the distribution) that work just as well, and they're free unlike Quicken.
Used in tandem, GIMP and Inkscape easily beat the crap out of Photoshop and they're both free unlike Photoshop.
Finally, though I personally do like the new interface of Microsoft Office 2007, for the vast majority of end-users, the free (price, openness) OpenOffice.Org will do exactly what they want and more. To make migration easier, it has an interface similar to the pre-2007 versions of Microsoft Office.
Also, all of these alternatives are available on Windows as well to ease the migration to Linux (first start using these alternatives on the existing OS, then migrate to the new OS with these identical programs).

The next picture describes the little sticker of compatibility with Windows 7. I'm not going to post it here, but I hope Microsoft does a better job than the fiasco with the Windows Vista compatibility stickers (for those who don't know, Microsoft has been doing these stickers since Windows 95, but with Vista, there were a huge number of computers with hardware labeled "compatible" that really wasn't).
























This is a reiteration of a previous slide.
In terms of ease of learning, this is only true for people who use Vista. For people using XP and before, it may in many cases be easier to learn a Linux distribution, so don't give me anything about a supposedly higher learning curve for Linux (that exists in any OS where you want to tinker with it in more advanced ways).
In terms of support, I've found the official support (Canonical, Red Hat) as described by other users and unofficial support (forums) for Linux to be far better than that provided by Microsoft or its users for Windows simply because Linux lets you create a solution if there isn't one already, whereas with Windows you are at the mercy of the priority list of the Microsoft programmers in Redmond, WA (Microsoft's HQ).
Again, familiarity will only be true with Vista for reasons I stated above.
























Let's start with regular updates. Distributions like Ubuntu have updates as regular (if not more so) than Windows. All it takes is one click on the update manager to download and install them. Furthermore, unlike Windows, you don't need to restart your computer (or even your session) to apply these updates.
Next, we'll go with the met expectations. I don't think new users of Windows expect the inevitable performance slowdown and frequent freezes or crashes because Microsoft doesn't say that, but it still happens. That's not meeting expectations. Most distributions of Linux say outright that there may be bugs but point you in the right direction for help; anyway, Linux doesn't freeze or crash nearly as much as Windows.
Free downloads makes me laugh. Almost all major programs (that aren't official programs from the distribution creator) are free on Linux anyway; you can't say that for Windows.

























Linux updates are in fact as easy, if not more so, than in Windows. Both are one click to update, and Linux doesn't need a restart to apply the changes (and even if they're major, one just needs to log out and log back in without restarting the computer itself).
The idea of lack of clarity about priority of updates is true of Windows as well. In fact, Windows makes it less clear as one must go through a few more clicks to choose which updates to install, whereas in most Linux distributions the list to check or uncheck is in plain sight. I guess Microsoft wants you to take all updates anyway and then blame Linux for giving consumers too much choice.
I call this one a FACT.

























This one's a doozy.
The idea that user's are on their own is not entirely true. This is true of Windows as well. Windows users are at the mercy of programmers in Redmond to go through priorities and provide a fix, whereas Linux users can either search for other user-generated fixes or create a fix themselves if an official fix has not come out.
The idea of parental restrictions is completely off-topic anyway. Parental restrictions won't stop hacks, and in any case they are just as good in Linux as in Windows.
But the biggest issue is the idea that Windows 7 claims to be safer than Linux. Have you ever seen an end-user using an antimalware program on Linux? I thought not. How about in Windows? It's practically a necessity for survival. The other thing is, Linux is not safer because fewer people use it; that's a very minor reason compared to the bigger thing. Linux is safer because of its inherent security. Programs don't have the same powers as users as in Windows, which prevents harmful programs that are opened from immediately executing as in Windows; in Linux, to get the same effect, you have to type in a bunch of stuff in the command line. In short, (I found this quote on the Blog of Helios) "Windows assumes you are an idiot, while Linux makes you convincingly prove [that you are an idiot]."
I'm calling this one a FACT.

OK guys, last slide.
























For the new user, any operating system will take an equally long time and be equally difficult to learn. Furthermore, step-by-step tutorials are provided on forums, blogs, and official sites, and available documentation is far more extensive than that of Windows due to the openness of Linux.
The second point is true, but isn't that kind of the point of choice? Linux can never become a monopoly and that will work in its favor.
In terms of customer expectations, most distributions clearly delineate the strengths and current issues with them, so the consumer knows exactly what they're getting into.
I call this one a FACT.

I mentioned above something about the lack of mention of Mac OS X Snow Leopard, which is also sold in Best Buy. I think this is because Microsoft is truly admitting that Linux is their only real competition (especially on netbooks) and is truly better than Windows in many ways that they don't want to admit. It's a sign of desperation from Microsoft and a sign of goods things for Linux (that it may be finally catching on). Also, (and this is another refutation of an argument presented in the slides) customers are not returning Linux netbooks any more frequently than they do Windows netbooks according to the vendors themselves.
However, I think it's disturbing that Microsoft should go to such great lengths to promote its product. It's one thing to sell it; it's a totally different thing to do so through misinformation and thus misinform an entire population of tech vendor employees.
Thus, I suggest that people who support Linux (or at least oppose Microsoft) reduce visits to Best Buy, and when that visit happens, talk to the managers or employees about this. Better still, go to Best Buy with signs promoted Linux.

I sincerely apologize for the extraordinarily long post, but that was some extraordinary (even by Microsoft standards) FUD right there.

(UPDATE: I saw the post after publishing and realized that the pictures got cut off. I really apologize; thankfully, the pictures are clickable if you want to see them in full. Of course, the original link is there as well.)
(UPDATE (2010 June 17): Going through this and other posts, I realized that this one was way too long to have not been split into pieces. I have done that, so now on the main blog page there is a clickable link to see the full post. Also, the original image links are broken, so I am putting new links for the images. Along with this, I found out that the person who uploaded this (how could I have missed this?) is a Linux-loving Best Buy employee. Kudos to that person for doing the right thing by exposing Microsoft's lies and deceit to the world over!)

2 comments:

  1. Got the link to this post from Helios' blog. When I first saw this nonsense over the weekend, I was considering doing a point by point rebuttal too, but ended up with something a bit different... Check out the Linuxquestions blog page for my response.

    Rich C

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  2. Thanks for the post. I really liked it and I'll pass it on to those who are experiencing a bit of frustration with their new Windows computer yet feel a bit of [cough] "inertia" [/cough] about moving to an OS like Linux. One of my friends is seriously considering it for his next computer (but that'll have to wait until he gets that next computer), as he only surfs the web and uses word processing/spreadsheet/presentation applications.
    If you also could follow my blog and spread the message (as well as anything else I write about Linux, as this blog is not exclusively about Linux), I would truly be honored. Credit me only as "PV" (my Blogger identity).

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