October 31 is coming up soon, so now is a good time to remind everyone of the Halloween Documents, hosted by Eric S. Raymond.
If you don't know what this refers to, you may want to read the Wikipedia entry on the Microsoft Halloween documents leaks. Yes. Microsoft has acknowledged the authenticity of these documents. Furthermore, they have surfaced as an exhibit in the Comes v Microsoft antitrust litigation. Bill Gates himself had them distributed internally.
I think the Halloween documents are substantive proof that Microsoft really views Linux as a threat, and will go to great lengths to protect its monopoly standing.
Not all the Halloween documents listed on Eric's site are leaked memos. Some are simply Eric's commentary. Interested in reading just the leaked Microsoft documents? Here's a summary:
An internal report written by Vinod Valloppillil, who was a Program Manager at Microsoft at the time. It looks at Free / Open Source software, including its strengths and weaknesses, and the possible impact to Microsoft's products and services. Importantly, Valloppillil acknowledges that Free / Open Source software "is long-term credible" and "FUD tactics can not be used to combat it." Instead, the document proposes fighting Free / Open Source software by "extending these [commonly-used] protocols and developing new protocols" and "de-commoditize protocols & applications." Thus, the consumer is locked-in to Microsoft's solutions.
Another report by Vinod Valloppillil, with Josh Cohen. This gives an overview of the Linux system.
Aurelia van den Berg, the Press and Public Relations manager of Microsoft Netherlands does a standard job of explaining away documents 1 & 2, saying that while real, they are not official - intended as internal case studies. Laugh with me at the last line: "Unless Linux violates IP rights, it will fail to deliver innovation over the long run." Does Microsoft mean to say that you can only innovate if you stomp on the rights of others?
Presentation from a Microsoft internal Linux Strategic Review, held at the Microsoft offices in Berlin, Septemter 2002. Interestingly, it admits that anti-Linux FUD doesn't work ("Messages that criticize OSS, Linux, & the GPL are NOT effective.")
Leaked memo by Orlando Ayala, Group Vice President of Worldwide Sales, about how to deal with competition from Linux in government. Mentions Linux and StarOffice (StarOffice is the "commercial" fork of OpenOffice.)
An e-mail from consultant Mike Anderer to SCO's Chris Sontag, referring to Microsoft channeling $86M (possibly more) to SCO through Baystar, to assist in SCO's anti-Linux court cases.