Re: subscribe fork-l

Robert Harley (
Thu, 23 Jan 1997 10:48:55 +0100 (MET)

>> Great? Cheaper? [...]
>Yes, but you overlook the fact that you're REALLY smart, Rob. I dare
>say that 97% of the PC-using population cannot install Linux because
>it's too difficult for them to figure out how to do that.
>Those require ease of installation (and upgrading), and they require top
>notch support lines to walk them through things.

You can buy boxes with your favorite flavor of Unix installed just as
easily as with Windows installed. The difference being that Unix
vendors have never used illegal tactics to force hardware vendors to
install their wares. Microsoft has been fined $100Ms for this kind of
action, so Bill just laughs and takes said megabucks out of his
wallet. As with drug dealers, they will continue until the penalties
imposed outweigh the benefits.

Installation of GNU software (for instance) typically consists of
typing "make". There are problems sometimes but I have never been
stumped by them and have never needed a "support" line. However with
my Dad's PC, we *HAVE* been stumped: think about the problem for days,
try umpteen variations, call the support lines, drive to a shop and
buy new cards to see if they fix it, download the latest bug-fixes of
the software, mail-order the latest bug-fixes of the firmware, ask the
local PC gurus for hints... AND STILL FAIL TO GET SIMPLE THINGS

Allow me to quote you from a recent message:
>Netscape co-founder and programming whiz Marc Andreessen admitted on
>the Charlie Rose TV show that his home PC crashes regularly; that he
>hasn't been able to get his printer or CD-ROM drive to work [...]

Do you, Adam, do any serious work on your PC? Or do you log in to a
Sparc for that? (and no, Minesweeper or Jezzball doesn't count). Did
you type your message in Emacs by any chance?

How about a challenge: suppose Mr X wants a postscript viewer to pop
up when he clicks on a .ps link on the web. You install such a viewer
on your PC and let us know how much it cost and how long it took and
I'll do the same. Is it even worth holding this contest since it
would take me $0 and a few minutes.

>As far as delivering software with those features, Microsoft is as
>inexpensive an option as they come. Microsoft software really is a
>decent value for most of the people and businesses that use it.

So you pay a few hundred bucks for phone-psychotherapy while you try
to install some program that will be crap even when/if it is installed?
They say there's a sucker born every minute...

>With Microsoft, companies also buy piece of mind that the software they
>install will be supported by the company's support lines for many years
>to come. In the minds of many middle managers, this is a good thing.

Sheep and lemmings may have very peaceful minds but that is no excuse
for a human to jump off a cliff or into the sea.

>> Why does Microsoft not go in for open systems?
>Because in most cases, that is just plain bad business. [...]

Like I just said:
>I suppose that as long as there are plenty of fools who buy the hype
>due to ignorance and pay through the nose for crap software that
>crashes every few minutes, it makes sense to take their money.

>[...] The people who work at Microsoft are smart.

Oh, like Bill Gates who said recently that cryptosystems' security
relies on "the difficulty of factoring large prime numbers". ROTFL.

>> Does Microsoft deserve to be bashed?
>Maybe, or maybe not, but I do know this: everyone I've ever met who
>works at Microsoft has been intelligent, passionate about what s/he's
>doing, and tenacious to an admirable degree.

A Microsoftee was recently picking my brains about how to speed up the
arithmetic in cryptographic routines for WinNT on Alphas because
"Microsoft marketing wants to be able to clain they're faster than

Fair enough. I'm the right guy to ask and I helped him out. He was
asking me about my routines because he didn't understand how they
could be so fast and wanted Microsoft's to be equally fast. But when
I asked him about their speed, he refused to tell me because that's
"proprietary". "Hey, we'd like some free consulting and we'll copy
your code but we won't give you the information you need to help us".
Fuck that!

>[...] But don't deny that Microsoft does what it does (in appealing to
>those 97%) really, really well.

Indeed, it is very good at getting schmucks to pay many shekels for garbage.

.-. .-.
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`-' Hit me with those laser beams. `-'