View Full Version : Hey, Letter Writers! I have an Idea!

January 1st, 2008, 09:23 PM
I've been thinking lately about the possibility of Microsoft building an OS on top of Linux. As ludicrous and terrible as this sounds, it's actually quite reasonable. If they did this, several things would happen:

-Linux would gain HUGE corporate support.
-MS would develop a wonderful developer community, similar to that of Mozilla's, only bigger.
-All the bloat would be essentially removed.
-All their competitors would fall off the face of the earth, because the "popular" competitor suddenly became the "good" competitor, actually releasing quality products instead of shoddy bloatware.

So, I decided to write a letter to CEO Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer
1 Microsoft Way
Redmond WA


Dear Mr. Ballmer,
I am writing this to you by snail mail because I've found that corportate business leaders tend to read real mail that I send them. I am writing this because I am concerned about the quality of Microsoft's products, I think they are beginning to degrade. Regardless to how you look at it, Vista is a ridiculous failure, Office has become a sprawling suite with a disgusting interface, and the only thing I see with any promise right now is Windows Seven. I currently am a Linux user, I live an thrive on Ubuntu. Despite what you think, it is not a "Communist" product. In fact, I've found that it's amazingly stable, with amazing capabilities. Why am I bringing this up? Well, I think Windows should start building on top of the Linux kernel, and provide for true interoperability with all Linux distributions. It doesn't have to be a cost-free product, I understand that Microsoft is a business. However, with all your restrictions with DRM, your bloated OS, your cluttered office suite, and everything else, I think that it is time for a fresh start. If you won't consider using Windows Seven with Linux, consider it for the future. There are hundreds of innovations coming straight out of the Linux community everyday, providing for a better, more sophisticated OS. Yes, we share code due to the GPL. The model actually provides for a wonderous development model. If Windows started supporting Open Source, it would reel many companies in for a financial killing. It would cost a lot less, but if you changed the licensing, to be dual-licensed with the GPL, instead of a restrictive EULA in which the users actually only own a license, Windows would suddenly become a much more lucrative platform. Gone would be the bloatware, the viruses, the incompatibilies. Everything would be more responsive, more intelligent, and more supported. A community for Microsoft would spring up almost instantly, in a model similar to Mozilla's community, where hundreds of users provide useful codes to modify the system to suit their needs. Not only that, but your competitors would fall off the edge of the earth, metaphorically speaking. Mac OSX would start to have less and less adopters, because suddenly the "popular" system became good again. Do you remember when Windows XP came out? What about Windows 95? Sure, they were closed-source, but they were revolutionary at the time. Going Open Source, over a period of time, is not only the next revolutionary step, it is the next evolutionary step. You could change desktop computing again, making everything a richer, better experience.
In a short amount of time, whenever I get the time, I'm going to mail you a CD. It will be a proof-of-concept disc, with Linux. It will function in every way better than Vista. Sometimes, it's best to experience new technology, rather than have it explained to you.
In any case, I hope to hear back from you.
Best of Wishes,
Sean Tilley

If you think about it, writing to CEOs through the mail is alot more logical than emailing them. So, what I'm asking people to do is start writing letters to Mr. Ballmer, to show that as consumers, this is what we want. No business in their right mind can argue with consumer demand.
Also, I'm going to do a quick-and-dirty modification of Kubuntu when KDE4 is stable enough, with a custom Windows-like theme (only it won't suck so much as Vista's)

On top of that, I'm also planning on writing a letter to Steve Jobs, asking him to consider porting iTunes to Linux.

Silicon Valley, 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California, 95014
Dear Steve Jobs,
I assume that you are a busy man, so I shall try keep this rather short. I would like to start by saying that I think Apple has fantastic products. Unfortunately, I cannot afford most of them, so I have yet to buy an iMac, or any of those neat software suites for it.
No, that doesn't mean I'm a pirate. I support capitalism, and like any consumer, I vote with my money. However, I've become so upset with how terrible Windows is that last year, I made the switch to Linux. Now, I love Linux a lot. It's a fantastic alternative to Windows, and it's a cheaper alternative to Mac OSX. Herein lies my problem: Linux users have trouble syncing their iPods with Linux, and we have to emulate iTunes via the WINE project. It is nearly impossible to put media onto an iPod without iTunes. There are workarounds, and reverse engineering has gone so far as to let users sync newer iPods (such as the iPod Touch) with Linux.
However, it's not enough. I am writing this letter because I, like many other Linux users, would like to see an official iTunes client on Linux. If you don't think this is a profitable move, think again. Estimates from various communities have summed up that several million people run a Linux-based operating system. BSD, which you borrowed some code from, has a Linux emulation layer. If you were to give Linux/Unix-like/Unix users an official linux-based, universal-binary enabled client, it would make life so much easier for the rest of us.
Also, if you think this may threaten your company, consider this: several hundred million people use iTunes on Windows. Now, a very large fragment would be willing to switch to Linux due to things like cost-cutting and things like that. Your company would still be making money from iTunes, and at the same time be killing Microsoft's competition. By supporting the Free operating systems, Apple could actually boost revenues.
And yes, I know there's extremist Free-Software/Open-Source nuts out there who wouldn't touch iTunes with a ten-foot pole, but by porting iTunes, you could at least give people the option to use it, and therefore secure the iPod as the dominating media player.
Please sir, at least give it some thought. I am just one of the many people stuck in this situation. I can't afford an iMac/Macbook Pro/etc, and I hate Windows that I do not wish to go back to it. At the very least, hear out what I've said, and maybe give me an answer.
With all due respect,
Sean Tilley

I just think we should start writing directly to these companies, what do you think? We could practically change them, change desktop computing forever!
Would anyone be willing to help me write letters to these companies? As a mere user, I am asking everyone who wants drastic change to happen to please step forward and start working on changing things.

January 2nd, 2008, 10:59 PM
Hmm, guess I'll bump this up a bit, I need some input on it.

January 2nd, 2008, 11:08 PM
While I love the concept, i don't think that Microsoft or Apple would be willing to use the Linux kernel due to its licensing under the gpl. But hey, you never know, more power to you!

January 2nd, 2008, 11:36 PM
This may be the worst idea since Greedo shooting first. Microsoft and Apple have no reason to make drastic changes in their business model.

January 2nd, 2008, 11:50 PM
This may be the worst idea since Greedo shooting first. Microsoft and Apple have no reason to make drastic changes in their business model.

On the contrary, if more consumers demand it, a business will feel obligated to comply. Besides which, even if they say no, it'd be fun to constantly send mail to Ballmer until he makes a statement. And then, I'd release "Development" CD's (liveCD's with a re-themed KDE4/Kubuntu to look like some of the Vienna mockups floating around the web, topped off with some superb code from WINE, etc), and send them to various departments of Microsoft Redmond. As it is, they're working with making MinWin a reality, which is the bare-minimum kernel to be supposedly used in Windows 7. Now, suppose it were a Linux kernel instead? Suppose Microsoft played by the rules, and made an Open (but not cost-free) OS? It's certainly a tantalizing idea.

In any case, I'm excited to see how this would play out. If Microsoft went Open Source, their developer community would become wonderful. Suddenly, they'd have something similar to Mozilla's dev community, only on a grander scale. That would kill Apple, effectively wiping them off the face of the earth.

But, if Ballmer declares "NO!", then I'll ask Apple to port iTunes to Linux somehow. I'll show them petitions, statistics, current trends. If iTunes were ported, and the "average (non-gamer) consumer" were to switch, it would eventually kill Microsoft.

January 2nd, 2008, 11:51 PM
MS would never use a GPL licensed kernel. BSD is a different story, though.

January 3rd, 2008, 12:27 AM
The problem for Microsoft is that it really is the leader and visionary in the proprietary software world. They are not only responsible for beguiling software but also for a very toxic product model which kills innovation in favour of market lock-in.

Microsoft will be last business to shift so long as the current old guard remain in power in the board. this is fortunate for us because it means every feature or program we write counts for 10 such apps and features in their world.

The people to get on board are Adobe, Corel, Sage and AutoDesk.

January 3rd, 2008, 01:52 AM
Hey, Letter Writers! I have an Idea!

Letter writers?

Damn I'm old.

January 3rd, 2008, 02:05 AM
The people to get on board are Adobe, Corel, Sage and AutoDesk.

I agree. Start with smaller companies first; They might actually give a damn about us. Small companies need innovation in order to grow.

January 3rd, 2008, 02:06 AM
Oh my! Steve Balmmer is going to bury you. He's done it before, you know!

January 3rd, 2008, 02:16 AM
Hehe, I like the way the first letter is worded. I highly doubt that MS would ever consider making a Linux distro, and definitely not open source, but you never know. Personally, I would never use a MS made Linux distro, but there is a chance it could somehow help Linux... (think Novell)

I do like the idea of your second letter, iTunes on Linux would be good for a lot of people. I have a few friends who would probably switch from Windows if they could use iTunes.

January 3rd, 2008, 02:26 AM
Um... Wouldn't using the Linux kernel for an operating system make it easier for software/hardware to be compatible with multiple operating systems? Doesn't that take away Microsoft's biggest advantage?

January 3rd, 2008, 03:30 AM
Um... Wouldn't using the Linux kernel for an operating system make it easier for software/hardware to be compatible with multiple operating systems? Doesn't that take away Microsoft's biggest advantage?

No, because although the code would be open, any changes would have to be given back to them, and in turn back to the community.

Anywho, I'm currently building a Windows-like Ubuntu, to put on a CD and send to Ballmer, so I'll post whether I get any response at all.
EDIT: Also, thanks for all the feedback so far! At the very least, we could write to Steve Jobs.

January 3rd, 2008, 04:04 AM
Steve will throw a chair at you via snail mail, better duck. As much as I love the idea, I doubt it will happen. I'd try to get Adobe on board first.