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And Now For Something Completely Different…

One nice thing about Linux -- it's never boring. If the party ever starts to get slow, you can always count on something happening to liven things up. In that vein, I guess it's our turn here at Linux Magazine to add to the excitement.

One nice thing about Linux — it’s never boring. If the party ever starts to get slow, you can always count on something happening to liven things up. In that vein, I guess it’s our turn here at Linux Magazine to add to the excitement.

For those of you who are not yet aware of it, you’re holding a semi-historically interesting magazine in your hands. Curiously, the historical aspect of this issue has nothing to do with our editorial content. No, in fact, the most unusual feature of this issue is the addition of a new advertiser to our ranks — Microsoft.

Believe me, I was as shocked as you probably are right now when the suggestion was first proposed to me.

Needless to say, when it became clear that Microsoft wanted to advertise, there was quite a bit of internal debate over the subject. Lots of questions were raised, with the most important being; “What are their reasons for wanting to do this?”

Rather than just randomly speculate however, we decided to ask Microsoft that question directly. Their answer was interesting. Apparently, they believe that one reason many ISPs and Web hosting companies began deploying Linux so widely was because Microsoft didn’t have products that were appropriate for those markets at the time, and they didn’t listen to those customers as they banged on Microsoft’s door pleading for them to pay more attention to their needs.

So their primary reason for placing the ad is to reach out to those people whom they believe felt snubbed by Microsoft, and thus became fervent Linux supporters. (I can’t say I agree with their logic here, but I can see how it works from their point of view…)

Of course, they also knew there would be a ton of publicity, noise, and sheer “shock value” around the idea of a Microsoft ad running in Linux Magazine, so in effect they’re getting a lot more bang for their advertising buck. And while I realize I’m (unavoidably) helping them get some of that publicity by addressing this in this column, I felt that this was an extenuating circumstance of the sort that demands a bit of editorial commentary.

In any case, after much back-and-forth discussion about running an ad from Microsoft, we decided that we would be hypocrites if we didn’t take the ad. Of course, I’m sure some people will say that we’re hypocrites for taking the ad, but we felt that this decision was most consistent with both our internal philosophy and the Open Source philosophy in general.

After all, I’ve said many times in this column that I respect Microsoft as a competitor, and it would have felt wrong to deny any company the right to advertise simply because they represent a competitive philosophy and set of products.

Following that logic a little further, the whole philosophy of Open Source is founded upon the open exchange of information and ideas, right? And so we decided that as long as there was nothing either inflammatory or negative about Linux in their message, we should welcome them as we would welcome any other party that wishes to communicate with the community.

As for whether the community will believe their message has any merit, well…that’s for all of you to decide. I’m certainly curious to hear your thoughts.

See you next month,

Adam Signature

Adam M. Goodman

Editor & Publisher

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