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Software Wars map updated

By Andy Tai in MLP
Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 10:47:52 AM EST
Tags: Humour (all tags)

This is to announce the latest version of the "Software Wars" map. It describes, in simple graphics, the current software world. Using the analogy of war maps between countries, it shows the current situation more effectively than texts in many articles. Since 1997, this map has been periodically updated to reflect the on-going events. The latest updates reflect the intensified struggle between Microsoft and Open Source/Free Software. See it at


Old versions can be accessed from the top of the web page



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Software Wars map updated | 19 comments (18 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Sex (2.66 / 3) (#1)
by duxup on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 05:26:21 AM EST

Well that's odd. I rarely run into the webfilter my employer runs, but it appears that according to Websense:

The Websense category "Sex" is restricted.

This must be some sweet looking software map :-)

Crap Nanny Nonsense... (4.00 / 1) (#4)
by pallex on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 08:52:04 AM EST

..can usually be got around via:


[ Parent ]
Eeek! (4.00 / 1) (#3)
by xriso on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 07:50:21 AM EST

Either this sleep deprivation stuff is really kicking in, or there is no mention of Debian on there. It shoulde be shown as a defense line, maybe - not bleeding edge, but still effective.
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
not to scale :) (3.00 / 4) (#5)
by Refrag on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 09:09:47 AM EST

Linux is larger than it should be, Apple is not large enough.


Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches

Samba Paratroopers (3.75 / 4) (#6)
by SEWilco on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 09:12:32 AM EST

The "Samba" front should actually be paratroopers being dropped among the Microsoft territory.

A few corrections (4.33 / 3) (#7)
by jd on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 09:34:06 AM EST

Red Hat -> Frontline, but with commando units

Debian -> Definitely a "Guards" unit

EMS -> Tactical Air Unit

FSF -> Ghurka unit, definitely. :)

IBM -> Jagpanzer unit. (Old, out-of-date, though good for their era. Though when they get somewhere, you know about it.)

Slackware -> Home Guard

Microsoft HQ, Redmond -> Monte Casino. If you know history, you know the result. Don't let history repeat.

You forgot AOL (4.00 / 3) (#8)
by Orion Blastar on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 10:09:05 AM EST

AOL buys out Netscape, Netscape becomes buggy and full of crap code. Netscape not longer what it used to be. AOL is teamed up with Microsoft to use IE as its default browser, but could stick the knife in Microsoft's back if AOL makes Netscape or Mozilla the default browser. :)
*** Anonymized by intolerant editors at K5 and also IWETHEY who are biased against the mentally ill ***
Please (none / 0) (#17)
by delmoi on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 03:17:44 AM EST

Netscape was bloated, and buggy as hell long before AOL purchased them. Mozilla OTOH, isf actualy pretty nice
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
On this we do agree (none / 0) (#19)
by Orion Blastar on Mon Jul 02, 2001 at 10:03:10 AM EST

Mozilla is like Netscape Navigator without all the buggy crap added to it. Those AOL GeeGaws do bog the browser down. But I suppose you are right, before AOL bought them out, Netscape was bloated, but not as bad as it currently is. I think they lost stability after version 3.X of Netscape Navigator? ;)
*** Anonymized by intolerant editors at K5 and also IWETHEY who are biased against the mentally ill ***
[ Parent ]
Minor feedback (5.00 / 2) (#9)
by mlinksva on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 12:24:20 PM EST

I've always loved the software war map for entertainment value, so take these lightly:
  • Caldera is on the map twice. The "Caldera OpenLinux" instance should be replaced with another distribution(s). Caldera isn't that important now, and it certainly shouldn't be so near the FSF, as it seems to be the Linux vendor most critical of free software.
  • Software as service and Hailstorm should be shown as a kind of end run (I'm lacking military metaphors) around free software, which doesn't yet have much of a response. .NET is there four times, which includes Hailstorm, but this new strategy isn't evident.
  • In the same vein, Hotmail (way out of date link) and other Microsoft web sites/services are a crucial part of MSFT's strategy for world domination. Current opposition: AOL, Yahoo. Scary.
  • Might also show that XML and other open standards have become a sort of no-man's land, embraced by Microsoft and free software.
  • Mention embedded Linux vs. WinCE.
  • PostgreSQL is well on its way to being a killer part of the free software arsenal. It deserves mention, perhaps in front of the BSDs on the map.
  • OS/2's font is way to big. Include the peace, love & linux logo by IBM.

imagoodbitizen adobe unisys badcitizens
Some other feedback (none / 0) (#12)
by yogger on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 09:56:07 AM EST

Mention embedded Linux vs. WinCE.

What about Palm, QNX, and all the other embedded OS's too.

OS/2's font is way to big.

I don't think its too big, don't forget that a lot of cashregisters/point of sale machines and ATMs run versions of OS/2.

The is only a test .sig
If it were a real .sig it would contain useful and/or funny information
[ Parent ]
Linux/BSD (4.50 / 2) (#10)
by guinsu on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 02:49:47 PM EST

I noticed that this map doesn't take into account the infighting between the GPL/Linux groups and some of the BSD groups.

Yes it does (none / 0) (#13)
by drivers on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 12:05:31 PM EST

Look at the battle symbol between Gnu + Tux and the daemon. In fact they even have a small battle symbol between the Gnu and Tux.

[ Parent ]
cute, but... (5.00 / 3) (#11)
by taruntius on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 04:55:51 PM EST

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.
Samba (1.00 / 2) (#15)
by Robert Uhl on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 04:06:32 PM EST

Samba is an exceedingly poor example. NFS came out way before SMB, as did AFS and some other neat tools which did much the same thing, but better. Sure, these are not free software per se, but they spring from the Unix mindset, which is really what Free Software is all about.

[ Parent ]
Another point about samba (none / 0) (#16)
by delmoi on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 03:15:09 AM EST

Samba really, is about being compatable with windows on the network. There are and were plenty of open protocols that M$ could have used, but didn't. Saying that open source is following microsoft because of samba is like saying they're following M$ in implementing FAT32
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
fine. let's pick a different example. (none / 0) (#18)
by taruntius on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 03:07:13 PM EST

There was an announcement today (or maybe it was yesterday, not sure) that Microsoft is paying Corel a bunch of money to implement their .Net infrastructure for NetBSD as a "shared source" project.

If people turn out to actually like .Net and find it useful (as the general public seems to keep doing with most of the stuff Microsoft makes), how long do you think it will take before Corel's work is ported or cloned over to linux? I'm betting it happens even before .Net is firmly established in the software ecology, because deep down the open source people understand that there will be demand for this .Net stuff that Microsoft has concocted, and they'll want to be able to say "but linux can do that too!"

Again, my point was not about the specifics of any single technology in linux; it's about the trend I'm seeing of late in the open source community to let Microsoft lead the way when it comes to what an OS needs to have in it in order to be considered viable. Or for that matter, what an office productivity suite needs to have in it. That's the trend I see, and I can't get away from the conclusion that until the open source community starts providing leadership on its own in this area, Microsoft can't help but win. First mover advantage, and all that.

--Believing I had supernatural powers I slammed into a brick wall.
[ Parent ]
Hmmm.... (Apple feedback). (none / 0) (#14)
by 11223 on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 04:19:43 PM EST

You're missing OSX and BSD being together and Apple's commitment to Open Source, along with Microsoft's commitment to Apple.

Also, where's QNX? There's an important WinCE and Embedded Linux competitor! On that note, BeIA and Sony's net-appliance should be noted next to the BeOS "shrinking circle"...

The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.

Software Wars map updated | 19 comments (18 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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