First, any code even loosely based on the Linux source code would have to be open-source as well.. which means it can't be proprietary. Second, any part of ditching Windows would be suicidal on Microsoft's part. People really do HATE them.. they just have no choice (or perceive that they have no choice) but to use their software.. If it stopped working (ie, ditching Windows) then that would pretty much end that deathgrip, wouldn't it? You don't mean to imply that in an open market Microsoft could keep its monopoly numbers, do you?
When you compile application code, it not only gets compiled into Assembly code, it gets compiled into Assembly code that only works in a paticular OS (because different OSes use different drivers, different event handling, different memory management, etc, etc). Therefore, anything compiled for Linux won't run under Windows, and vice versa.
To get users, you need programs. To get programs, you need a user base. Just try to run Win32 apps under Linux with wine, and you'll be sorely disappointed. I always set up wine so that it uses my actual Windows DLL's whenever possible, so it's not like I'm using entirely rewritten code. A few of them work part of the time and the rest explode in your face. Or don't even load. So all Windows programs would have to be rewritten and recompiled for Linux to avoid costly emulation of Win32 API's. Yikes! The API's of Windows and Linux are completely different.
The GPL (GNU Public License)
Like the above post stated, the GPL ( http://www.linux.org/info/gnu.html ) covers Linux. And the GPL states that you must make the source freely available for any program that is "derived" from something covered in the GPL. Basically, inside of companies they reuse code libraries so that they don't have to rewrite the same code ten times. If a code library gets covered by being covered in one app, all the other apps that use are now covered. If Office reuses some of the code libraries in Windows (for anything, like file browsing, etc), it now is covered... and the source has to be made freely available.
That is one massive programming project you claiming M$ would do. The entire rewrite of Windows, Office, IE, WMP, etc, for an entirely incompatible OS? M$ can't even program for their OWN OS, do you think they could port to an entirely different OS? UNIX and Windows have nothing in common.
In short, I never think M$ would try that. It'd never work.
Have you ever heard of LindowsOS? It's basically what you're describing. WINE grafted into Linux to run Win32 apps...
But you know what? It doesn't work. My Linux has the newest version of WINE... and I still can't even run most of the basic Win32 apps (like Solitaire).
Also... it took Apple 3 years to make MacOS X. You think M$ would have a version of Windows to pop out the door if the courts went against them? Are we talking about the same M$? The last time the courts when against them, they went right ahead and did what they weren't supposed to. Do you really think it'll be any different?
Just a note. BSD is not open source. FreeBSD is. FreeBSD is what Apple's MacOS X is based on. There is a difference.
(yes, not open or net- I assumed 'free' to be understood. Bsd probably doesn't mean anything)
THe reason Lindows probably doesn't work very well is because there aren't huge teams of Microsoft programmers and engineers working on it~ ....wait a minnit..?
The open source guys are doinfg their best to reverse engineer and hack these things out (bless them, I don't know how they do it, the badasses), buit MS will have all the advantages and resources, and organization that open source community doesn't.
Are you referring to the emulator that emulates from the BIOS up and runs slooowly in Linux? Sure, it allows you to run true Windows in entire emulation inside of Linux... but it, well, runs like cold molasses in January.
I can see support desks and developers or testers using it. It allows you to have a stable platform to test things on for multiple OS's (NT, 9x, NT, 2k, XP, Linux, xxxBSD, DOS, etc...) withoug having to have multiple hachines, hard drive partitions or boot loaders. Those platforms also are somewhat imune to applications screwing the thing up and having to re-install the OS. You just keep a copy of a clean install drive image on the server (or a CD or something) and copy it back over your working one when needed.
Connectix's web site talks more about this.
Most users, though, would have very little need for such things.
MS has a *huge* stake in the NT kernel (the base for NT, 2000, and XP). They have been working on it for years and years and it has a *ton* of existing code written for it and a large user base. And quite honestly the kernel has gotten a lot better. Win 2000's stability is far better than 95, 98, Me, or NT. Not that its more stable than linux or *nix...
But I think MS *is* hedging their bets with .Net. It is a very open architecture that (similarly to Java and J2EE) can be ported to any platform. While there is the ability to write native code (that is code that is platform specific) under .Net, I think MS will increasingly push their "managed" code that can be run on any platform with a .Net implementation.
This gives them flexibility in a variety of areas. It frees them from Intel and allows them to extend their evil hand into other OS's. Imagine all sorts of Windows programs running under Linux or OS X.
The world is a scary place. And .Net is making it that much scarier.