Steve Ballmer, CEO of the company everyone loves to hate, has recently sent out a memo to some execs and customers extolling the benefits of the Microsoft platform, and making negative claims with regards to the security and development process of Linux and open source software. (big surprise that anyone from Microsoft would do that right?) You can find a write up on his email here.
When questioned about the deplorably high number of exploits for Microsoft software, the usual response has been to blame it on the fact that they are the far and away market leader and therefore their software is much more of a target then any alternatives. The problem with that explanation, is that it simply isn’t true. Microsoft’s web server software has only about 25% market share, the dominant server software with greater then 65% usage is Apache (an Open Source Web server), and yet IIS suffers from many more critical exploits, has been the target of several far reaching worms, and had problems with insurance companies wanting more money for coverage if you used it.
Interestingly enough, governments that used to listen to him, are not doing so as much of late. Perhaps they see the conflict of interest in taking the word of a guy who has for some time lead the software company in it’s war on any IT company that doesn’t make them money (And some that do.) The UK Office of Government Commerce has just released a report declaring that Open Source Software is now a viable and credible alternative for government. And the UK government is in the midst of updating it’s Open Source policy though I’m not sure anyone understands what the new version actually means yet.
The Inquirer has covered this as well, and you can find that article here. While all this is going on, the Munich is happily replacing 14,000 Windows machines with Linux, and saving a long-term bundle of money in the process.