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Stop the Presses: Microsoft, Unisys Partner to Put Up an

Anti-UNIX Web Site that Runs on UNIX

In late March 2002, Microsoft and Unisys launched a publicity campaign against Sun, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and every other competitor that runs UNIX—including Linux—on its big systems. The publicity campaign was scheduled to run for 18 months and cost upwards of the $25 million that Unisys said it was spending alone on the project.

Rather than compete on the merits of Microsoft's and Unisys' competitive product offerings, the company decided to wage the high-tech equivalent of a negative political campaign. Titled “We have the way out”, the campaign incredibly accuses UNIX of cornering customers in an expensive box. One ad says:

No wonder Unix makes you feel boxed in. It ties you to an inflexible system. It requires you to pay for expensive experts. It make you struggle daily with a server environment that's more complex than ever.

As if the words in this ad were not sufficiently irony-free, the campaign's web site, wehavethewayout.com, was found to have been served by Apache on FreeBSD. After that bad publicity became news, the site was moved to Windows, first at the same Verio hosting service, and then at Unisys. But in the process it went dark, displaying either a blank white page or a 403 error message.

Later the page came back up, offering membership in “our ecommunity” and five PDF papers to download. The web page was copyrighted by Unisys Corporation.

The campaign was reportedly intended to promote Unisys' ES7000 server and the Datacenter version of Windows 2000, which can run on machines with as many as 32 processors. Unisys faces an uphill battle in this category—not only with Sun and HP, which have had strong UNIX offerings for many years, but from IBM's new eServers, which run either Linux or Microsoft OSes on systems with up to 16 processors and sell at lower prices than Unisys' ES7000s. CNET also reports that only “a few hundred” ES7000 servers have been sold and that “sales partnerships with Dell, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard have all fallen apart”.

Naturally a new site called wehavethewayin.com appeared shortly after wehavethewayout.com fell on its face. With pointers to all the leading UNIX variants, wehavethewayin.com says:

These days, with enough money, a report or statistic can be printed that says anything. Usually this is done because those with enough money want to make others believe their lies. Make sure that you are reading a genuine article and not a paid-for lie''. The page is copyrighted by Jon Fields of LinuxFreak.org. Shortly after it went up, Fields reported more than 400,000 hits to the page.

—Doc Searls

They Said It

Ninety percent of everything is crap.

—sturgeon

The TiVo is a wrapper around a bad interface.

—Bruce Sterling

The WWW is bloatware. Finding things is impossible because there's so much stuff out there. Think how much hard drive space is wasted on all kinds of web pages that only .00000000001% of the world ever reads. Since the vast majority of people only go to Yahoo, Ebay and MSN, wouldn't the WWW be better if it only had Yahoo, Ebay and MSN? It would be much more “optimized”.

—Joel Spolsky

Let me be clear: Microsoft expects 802.11 and its supersets to be present in most places that people spend time. In corporate offices it will be pervasive. In campuses, hotels, convention centers, airports, shopping centers—virtually everywhere—this 11 megabit and up capability will be there.

—Bill Gates

Yes, Microsoft twisted the market's Invisible Hand until all it could do was salute smartly in the direction of Redmond. But the market is still capable of containing Microsoft's hegemony. Just barely. Maybe. I am far more worried about the entertainment-legislative complex. Because the market has emphatically rejected its business model, it's perilously close to rewriting the software and hardware rules to force the market to comply. The government is both venal and stupid enough to do it.

—David Weinberger

Most people who tell you about the patent system have a stake in it, and so they want you to like it. But patents are like the lottery because they only rarely bring benefits to people. Lotteries invite you to think about winning, never about losing, and it is the same with the patenting system.

—Richard M. Stallman

A gored ox is a vigilant ox.

—Jim Barksdale

Software is like sex. You certainly can pay to watch actors, but some things are more fun to do for yourself.

—Miguel de Icaza

I'm wary of the trend toward things which can undermine the reliability and accuracy of Google.

—Seth David Schoen

I only hope no one tries to call people who copy digital media “software terrorists”.

—Derek K. Miller

It was naïve to assume the Net would stay open. Nothing ever does. Things have not been going well in that very large corporate interests, protecting business models, are leveraging lobbying to pass legislation that is harmful and stupid.

—Mitch Kapor

The Hollings bill is a kind of a setback. It threatens what people on both sides have been trying to achieve....People in the industry are not looking for the lock and key scenarios that the Hollings discussions raise.

—Hillary Rosen

The content industry is now Disney and Fox coming to Congress and saying “you choose...you come up with a solution”. These guys think this is “open source”.

—US Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash)

We also need the buggywhip protection act, mandating that no moving vehicle sold in the US not be equipped with a buggywhip. And the Railway Protection Act, mandating that no mass transportation ticket be sold for a service that moves faster or less expensively than a train ride.

—The Rev. A. K. M. Adam

Imagine if radio came before telephony. People would be saying “Who wants to talk personally? Broadcasting is everything!”

—Bob Frankston

Unlicensed spectrum is the best thing we've ever done.

—FCC Chairman Michael Powell

No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.

—Douglas MacArthur

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