Microsoft's latest Linux lies

"If you can't beat 'em, cheat" has long been Microsoft's philosophy, which has lead to the Department of Justice and the European Union swatting them with restrictions and hundreds of millions of dollars in fines over the years. But that hasn't stopped them. In our latest example, an anonymous blogger who goes by GodofGrunts at OverClock.net, a site for people who want the fastest possible PCs, reports on his Microsoft ExpertZone training at Best Buy. What he 'learned' from Microsoft isn't 'exactly' true.

Before I launch into this, here are some caveats. Microsoft ExpertZone is designed to help retailers learn how to sell Microsoft products. You can't really expect it to offer fair and balanced coverage of Linux and Macs. I would, however, expect to find objective observations about both, so that sales people can try to sell Windows without lying about it. I was disappointed.

I should also note that the guy who reported this is a self-proclaimed Linux lobbyist, so he clearly has an ax to grind too. But we don't need to take his word for it. You can see the ExpertZone's screen shots for yourself.

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First we see, according to Microsoft, that Linux has poor support for cameras, iPods and MP3s. Really? You could have fooled me: I use all three all the time with desktop Linux. True, iTunes doesn't run on Linux, but, thanks to the Linux music player Banshee, I seldom bother with iTunes anyway.

Also true, Linux doesn't support all Windows programs, so I can live with the software compatibility comment — but honestly, who cares if Linux supports Windows Live applications? If I want online applications, most people use the free or commercial version of Google Apps.

In addition, the slide claims that you can't run Windows games on Linux. That's funny — I run Guild Wars all the time on Linux, and most other Windows games, such as World of Warcraft, also run fine on Linux, thanks to CrossOver Games. Oh, and by the way, you can run them on an Intel-based Mac as well, thanks to this same program.

We're also told there's no support for desktop Linux. Really? I do so wonder how Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, and Novell and their SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) 11), are making money these days? Or have you heard of Dell, which will not only sell you PCs with Linux, but will support it, too? Who knew?

Microsoft also claims you can't use video chat on desktop Linux. Yet I use Ekiga and Skype for video chat on Linux all the time.

Then there are the "Get the FUD" — er, "Get the Facts Straight" slides, which serve as a reminder that Microsoft's Get the Facts anti-Linux campaign (2004-2007) actually lives on.

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Here we find such utter lies as Linux updates and upgrades not being easy. I use all the major distributions, and updating and upgrading all of them usually consists of hitting the button marked 'upgrade.' In contrast, there is no easy way to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7.

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If that weren't bad enough, we have a completely unbelievable Windows lie: That it's safer than Linux. Please. Windows is the most insecure operating system in use.

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Last, there's that persistent myth that Linux is hard to learn. You'd think Microsoft would come with a new lie. Linux is as easy to to pick up as any desktop system these days, and that's been so for years now.

What is it with Microsoft? Why are they so frightened of desktop Linux that they have to resort to this kind of propaganda? Maybe Microsoft knows something that most of its Windows users don't: given a fair shot, many users would switch to Linux.

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