!Re: Nuke Redmond!

From: Paul Braun <nerdware_at_laidbak.com>
Date: Thu Apr 6 21:06:27 2000

Apparently, Zane Healy uttered some of the following:
> OK, I can no longer resist commenting on this. WHERE IS MICROSOFT'S
Amen, brother.

> Let's look at some of their programs through the years.
> Basically a port of DEC BASIC

Unfortunately, way too many people think that MS invented BASIC,
and don't know or want to know that Paul Allen just rearranged it to
run on an Altair.

> They bought a clone of CP/M

QDOS has been shown to have a significant portion of commands
lifted from CP/M. Gary Kildall had a whole list, but the "author" of
QDOS wouldn't own up to it. Again, MS just bought someone
else's OS because they didn't have one of their own.

> MS Windows:
> Mac OS

And to a degree, from Xerox. At least Apple had worked with
Xerox's engineers. They brought it out first, made it work, made it
accessible. Only after M$ saw that people were starting to like it
did they try Windows. And Windows, unlike Mac OS or
AmigaDOS, was simply a graphical patch on top of the real cash
cow, MS-DOS. I mean, EVERY Mac and Amiga app worked with
the given system mouse. With Windows, you had to decide if the
mouse you were buying was compatible with your software, and
then you had to install an interface card, and then you had to pray
that it kept working. If the mouse on my Mac or my Amiga stops
working, something is seriously hosed. Plus, the resolution on Mac
and Amiga mice is way better than any Windows mouse.
> MS Windows NT:
> OS/2 and VMS (OK, so they did help develop this, but OS/2 was trash until
> IBM took it over. Of course IBM blew it big time with OS/2.)
First mistake was having MS write the original OS/2. Ballmer has
said publicly that they only took on the project to keep in IBM's
good graces. They had no incentive whatsoever to do a good job
with it, as it would cut into their market share for MS-DOS. OS/2
Warp3 and Warp4 kicked butt as OS's (fully
multitasking/multithreaded, handled large disk volumes, no
ridiculous 640k memory limitations). Only problem was lack of
apps, and that was mainly due to MS's bullying and threat tactics
to potential vendors and IBM itself. IBM should have pushed harder,
but they caved too early.

> MS Windows 95:
> Mac OS and NeXTstep (OK, the "System Properties" in the "Control Panels"
> is the one mildly cool thing about this. I don't know if there is prior
> art of any type for this.).

And they treated it like the second coming of Christ. Gates
appeared on late night talk shows, everyone was talking about how
MS developed this fabulous new operating system that would
revolutionize the way people compute (unlike the more mature
windowing OS's that Apple, NeXT, and Amiga or, for that matter,
Atari had been using since the '80's). Everyone thought MS
invented the mouse, and they were happy to let you believe that.
And it was still just a graphical patch on top of DOS.

> MS Explorer:
> Netscape (I won't even credit them with having looked at Mosaic)

Again, bought someone else's work and claimed it as their own.
"Internet? Big deal. It's just a fad. Who cares?

What? Netscape is actually making money? Ok. Here's what we
do. Let's buy Mosaic, call it something Microsoft, bundle it with
Windows, and tell people that we've decided the Internet is the
wave of the future."

> MS Window 98:
> Bug fixes for '95 and bundled MS Explorer

Right. Fixed 3,000 bugs in OSR2, which supposedly was a huge
bug fix for 95a. Created about that many of it's own, plus obsoleted
a bunch of hardware, and forced you to use a damn browser
window to look at directories. Plus, it included that fabulous
channel bar that would allow them to force advertising on you,
except that outside their little Redmond paradis, not everyone has
a T1 in their den.....or wants Disney stuff forced on to their desktop.

> MS Windows 2000:
> Technologies bought from everywhere, just how much of OpenVMS have they
> licensed/bought for this? I actually want to give it a try, but haven't
> had the chance.

Internal memo from development indicated that the "Final Shipping
Version" still had 65,000 bugs in it....and this was after thousands
of suckers had paid $90 for a beta to work them out.....and then
got no discount or credit towards the retail version, an annoying
practice that dates back to Win95.
> MS Word:
> Various word processors
Actually, came from Xerox PARC. Charles Simonyi wrote a
WSYIWG wp for the Alto and when it looked like Xerox didn't have
a clue what to do with it, MS hired him and he brought it with him.
Only thing was, it had to be downgraded to run on DOS........

> MS Excel:
> Various spreadsheets
Originally, a clone of Lotus 1-2-3, which was a blatant ripoff from
VisiCalc, a fact which to this day Lotus's originator feels bad about.

> MS PowerPoint:
> Harvard Graphics

I knew there was a prototype for this one, just wasn't sure what it
> MS Foxpro (is this still around):
> They bought it

Yes, it's still around, and the one machine I had to install it on in
my office suffered terminal registry errors and had to be reghosted
back to a baseline install.
> MS Access (isn't this the one that was a failed communications product): ?

Don't know this one.
> MS Access (the DB):
> Various Databases, it's got a rep for loosing data last I heard.

Clone of dBase.
> MSASM, MS Fortran, MS C, etc.:
> Ports of existing stuff

> MS Visual BASIC:
> Now this one has bothered me for several years, did they buy the
> underlying technology or copy something that already existed. I've a
> strange feeling that this one was actual innovation!

Object-oriented programming was nothing new, and certainly
wasn't a MS innovation.

> There is other stuff, but I think that paints a fairly accurate picture of
> their innovation!
> Basically their innovation is in copying existing stuff, repackaging it,
> and tricking people into thinking they've just come up with something new.


Microsoft should be heralded as the most successful marketing
and advertising firm in the history of computing, but certainly not an
innovator. By sheer stupid luck, they got hitched on to IBM at a
time when personal computers were considered toys, but an "IBM
PC" just HAD to be a real computer, right? Gate's real genius lies
in his ability to dynamically rewrite history to fit his own needs and
bully everyone into his way of doing things, no matter how wrong
they are. Ballmer once said in an interview that it was more
important to ship a product on time than it was to ship a product
that worked. They could always issue service patches later. The
real problem is that people just accept that and let them get away
with it. Appliance operators who don't have a clue what is in their
machines or even what an OS actually is know that they have to
have "Intel Inside" (sorry Zane...) and Windows 2000 and Microsoft
Office because that's what all the advertising has told them.
Doesn't matter that an iMac may do everything they need faster
and easier, it doesn't have Intel and Microsoft.

Have they tried alternatives? Maybe WordPerfect would be better
for them, but because MS told the PC builder that they'd yank their
Windows license if they even thought about bundling WordPerfect,
the user sees Word on the computer and just accepts it. Same
with AOL or MSN.

I'm tired and hungry now. This subject always sets me off. MS's
original mission statement in 1975 says it all...."A pc on every
desktop running MS software." It's not about money for Gates, it's
about total control. He can't accept anything else, and can't
understand why everyone else doesn't see things his way. It's in
his psychology.


Paul Braun
Cygnus Productions
Received on Thu Apr 06 2000 - 21:06:27 BST

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