This map is a perfect symptom of what's wrong with the free software community: too many free software adherents seem to be more interested in fighting with Microsoft than they are in making great software that helps users. [Note: I do not mean to suggest that there aren't any great free software people with excellent skills plus dedication to users. There are, we all know that, so let's avoid that whole rathole and move on, shall we?]
Why is this so? I'm not really sure, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that Generation X hasn't really had anything serious to fight about. The 50s and early 60s generations had Communism to struggle against. The late 60s hippy crowd had the Vietnam war to protest. But there hasn't really been a good, juicy, high-profile issue for Gen-Xers to rally around. Sure, the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, etc., have come along in recent years as something for the human-rights crowd to shout about, but that hasn't really grabbed the attention of the technically-minded among Gen-X.
Not until Microsoft came along have those people had an easy, common enemy to rally around. So Microsoft, for want of a better analogy, is the Gen-X hacker crowd's Vietnam.
I don't know what it is about human nature or maybe just about our society that makes young people so interested in taking up causes, particlarly easy ones that don't require very much independent thinking. But in this particular case I think it's destructive to what is, presumably, the ultimate goal: better software for everybody. By casting the entirety of the software industry as a war against Microsoft, as the Software Wars map does, it's too easy to lose sight of that goal, and thus, of the most effective ways of pursuing it.
Anyone who confuses Microsoft's defeat with the goal of better software for everyone (you know who you are), is automatically granting to Microsoft the most important tactical advantage of all: the opportunity to choose the direction of the battle. By constantly asking yourselves "how are we going to beat Microsoft," you become reactive to Microsoft's initiatives, rather than to users' needs. Just by putting your primary focus on Microsoft, rather than on users, you're already letting Microsoft call the shots which in turn means you've already lost.
Yes, I'm sure people will argue with me ad infinitum about that, because it's easier to attack the messanger than to think about whether one has been fighting the wrong battle. But much in the recent history of the free software movement bears out what I'm trying to show. Take Samba, for instance: it's a project that has a high profile in the free software world, but whose main goal is to bring certain desirous capabilities of Windows to the free software operating systems. Samba is a classic example of this, but I'm sure you can think of many similar examples such as Wine, certain DHCP functions, etc.
I cannot help but analyze a project like Samba in the following terms: 1. Microsoft comes to understand that file and print services are useful to users, 2. Microsoft designs and adds file and print sharing capabilities to Windows, 3. users dig it because, while possibly ugly or inelegant from a technical perspective, Microsoft file and print services do serve an actual user need, 4. users start demanding that they be able to print from their windows boxes to printers hosted on unix servers and read/write files stored on the servers from windows clients, 5. the free software folks say "fine, you insist that SMB be a requirement for a viable real-world server OS, we can implement that."
People accuse Microsoft of stealing ideas all the time, but come on, the free software community does it too--too often we let Microsoft do the hard work of determining what users actually want and spec'ing it out, then we come along and clone whatever they built. It's a reactive strategy, and is therefore doomed to play catch-up forever. The only ones who win in that strategy are Bill and Microsoft's other shareholders. (Oh yeah, and those users for whom Microsoft's stuff fits their needs. Let's not forget the users, after all!)
When will the free software community stop reacting to Microsoft, and take some leadership of its own on behalf of users? I hope it's soon, because until then silly little contrivances like this Software Wars map will continue to be more true and telling of the real situation than their creators probably desire.
--Believing I had supernatural powers I slammed into a brick wall.