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Editor's Note: Microsoft's Potemkin Village

Only 21 W2K Certified Applications? What a Joke!

  • March 1, 2000
  • By Kevin Reichard

It is now two weeks since Microsoft announced and released Windows 2000. The sun still rises in the east and sets in the west, the birds still sing outside my window, and my seven-year-old son still collects his Pokemon and Digimon cards.

In other words, nothing has changed.

The fact that Microsoft came out with a major upgrade to its highest-margin operating system--an operating system that generates a disproportionate portion of profits when compared to other Microsoft products--and the world didn't change in some way certainly heralded a break from the past, when the releases of Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0 legitimized the PC in the enterprise. We saw wave upon wave of innovative application hit the market as a result of Windows 98 and Windows NT.

But we're not seeing the same reaction to W2K. Part of the problem is that there was no technological reason for the release of W2K. It adds very little in the way of new functionality; just a few features, such as more robust directory services, that can easily be found in other network operating systems. The marketing folks at Microsoft were clearly flummoxed by the immense challenge posed by trying to carve out a distinct place in the marketplace for W2K; in the end, Microsoft fell back on some lame slogan involving business and the Internet. Hello? This is 2000, not 1996.

As predicted here weeks ago, the release of W2K ended up being a nonevent for penguinistas, albeit for slightly different reasons. It was a nonevent for penguinistas because it was a nonevent for everyone.

One of the oft-repeated criticisms of Linux is that it lacks the breadth of applications found in the Windows world. When you consider all iterations of Windows, this is true.

But take a look at the "certified" Windows 2000 applications, as verified on behalf of Microsoft by Veritest. You can find the entire list here, but don't worry about crashing your browser under the load of a huge listing of thousands of certified applications: there are exactly 21 products that are certified to work with Windows 2000.

That's right, 21. And that includes six versions of Reflection for WRQ. And no Microsoft products on the list; Microsoft didn't even bother to certify that Site Server was certified to run under W2K.

Oh, sure, there's a much larger list of products that should work with Windows 2000, but no one saw fit to make sure that these products work under Windows 2000. No one really seems to care whether they do or not.

Imagine if a penguinista went into a round-table discussion and bragged that there were 21 applications certified to work under Linux. Heck, we now have thousands of applications that run quite well under Linux, and we still come under attack from Windows partisans for a lack of apps.

Is this massive hypocrisy on the part of Microsoft, or what? Of course it is. And this is why open source will win in the end: we may be aggressive, we may be brash, but for the most part we're not hypocritical. And history shows us that even the mighty can fall when they succumb to hypocrisy and hubris.

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