Also, in a slightly related matter, two researchers have developed an economic model of Windows vs Linux; the gist of it is that because of their current market dominance, so long as MS gives some discounts, plays some dirty tricks and doesn’t overly discourage piracy, they’ll be able to ward off extinction, however they also predict that MS will never be able to exterminate Linux. I have some questions about their conclusions (I suspect they might not be considering some relevant factors, e.g. the developer tipping point), but considering their ideas reminded me that Microsoft wants Windows to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ stocked only with MS products.
Basically, Bill wants Windows to be the Mac OS :) That is, all the apps you’d want to use all come bundled with the OS (e.g. for web browsing Windows has Internet Explorer, OSX has Safari). Its to the point where you can’t uninstall IE in Windows. To break this aspect of Windows, something like the Open CD needs to be widely distributed; even just spreading Firefox is an excellent step as it replaces one of the key components of Windows and is an identical experience on Linux. I have heard the argument that Windows users should not get the cool FOSS toys that Linux has as that removes the incentive to switch to Linux. Not so; it undermines the specialness of Windows. If your app will run equally well in Windows or Linux, why are you paying for an OS that’s a security risk to run your software when there’s a free one easily available that will do the same? What’s really important is the Linux kernel’s better security (among other things), which is something that Windows users just do not have.