The mythical "year of the Linux desktop" still hasn't come, and may never, but on the 20th anniversary of Linux the free operating system's proponents threw a party to celebrate its success and scoff at past attacks launched by Microsoft, its biggest rival.
Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin - known among Network World readers for saying that bashing Microsoft is "like kicking a puppy" - used his keynote at the LinuxCon conference in Vancouver to recount past slights from Microsoft and explain how wrong they were, one by one.
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Noting that taking potshots at Microsoft "is pretty much my job," Zemlin presented a slide deck (it probably wasn't in PowerPoint) that included all the go-to quotes Linux fans use when they describe how evil Microsoft is. The list included Steve Ballmer's "Linux is a cancer" remark from 2001, Bill Gates insulting the GPL free software license and Craig Mundie saying Linux wouldn't be "successful in building a mass market and making powerful, easy-to-use software broadly accessible to consumers."
Microsoft recently produced a video wishing Linux a happy 20th birthday, and Zemlin took issue with that, too.
The Microsoft video, while mostly positive, says Microsofties felt Linux ideas were "childish," and asks "what happened?" to make Microsoft and Linux rivals.
"Could it have been... you called us cancer?" Zemlin said, drawing laughs from the audience.
The Microsoft "Happy Birthday, Linux" video also neglects to mention that Microsoft is still using its patent portfolio to undermine Linux-based technologies, particularly Android, Zemlin said.
"They're still up to the same old stuff," he said. But, "it's interesting to look at this stuff, the FUD and naysayers, and how Linux has overcome all these things."
Zemlin poked fun at himself for wrongly predicting in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 that "this is the year of the Linux desktop," but touted Linux's success in server and Web-based computing.