Xah's edu corner: on Microsoft hatred

Xah Lee xah at xahlee.org
Tue Jul 19 00:01:19 CEST 2005

Dear Joe,

It is well known that you are an avid hater of Microsoft, from their
technologies to their leader to their business practices. I have now
and then seen your impassioned expression of this hatred, scattered
among your newsgroup posts.

Personally, i have an inherent distrust toward big organizations. This
applies to Microsoft. Since perhaps 1995, MS has become more and more
large, and as well becoming a hate target especially among unix
communities. Of MS hatred there are two aspects: those who think MS
products are utterly incompetent, and those who think MS business
practices are the most evil.

I have always been an Apple Macintosh user. I have used a few MS
products such as MS Word word processor on the Mac since about 1990,
and Mac version of MS Internet Explorer web browser and Outlook Express
email program when they became available around 1997 or so free of
charge. My experiences have been that MS software on the Mac are pretty
good, if not usually better than competitors. In fact, before the
MS-hatred era of late 1990s, i recall that i was found of MS Word and
would say it was the software that never crashed, with the richest
(useful) features. I have not used MS Windows much until 1999, so i
cannot judge from my own experience whether people's complains about
MS's product's poor quality. By the time i used MS Windows daily in
1999, it was MS Windows NT, and i have moved into industrial programing
field now called IT. At the time Apple's OS is around version 8.
Although Windows is not as aesthetic or intuitive as my beloved Mac OS,
but on the whole i think Windows NT beats the shit out of Mac OS by
far. Mac OS crashed daily if a info-collecting tech-head like myself
are careful, hourly if not, and among quite a few of other reasons.

As the MS hatred is rolling like a snowball, i started to pay
attention. On one hand, i never cared for Microsoft. Their sole
impression on me before 1998 was that MS Word is good software, and i
hate Windows just because i'm a dedicated Apple fan just because Apple
had made many revolutionary innovations in both software and hardware
and MS was Apple's market enemy. Although i think the unix crowd are
tech morons of the world, but when it comes to political issues, i'm
inclined to side with their freedom loving and paranoia propensities.
I'm ashamed to admit, that i started to visit unix moron's mecca the
slashdot.org around 1999, and have read quite a lot of their MS hatred
verbiage, from drivel of sopho-morons to Eric Raymond's OpenSource
Jihad to Richard Stallman's Free Software Foundation. Perhaps due to
their propaganda, at times i shudder at the mind-numbing MS juggernaut,
and have felt ready to join their cause and kill Microsoft.

Since 1999, my behavior have in fact been mildly anti-Microsoft. I
would, for example, mention FreeSoftware or OpenSource in meetings,
avoid using MS products myself and convert all my MS Word files i have
on my Mac to some standard format such as plain text, and also use the
Free Software Foundation's GNU Public License for my own software
dabblings. Still, i was never a MS hater. Some people i know are MS
haters, but i'm just a mild FreeSoftware proponent and was never sure i
should be a MS hater. I could have investigated the issue, by studying
the various lawsuits, check out MS history, exam and verify MS hater's
essays, but life is short and i have other interests so i did not
undertook such activities and never decided whether MS should be hated.
I just disliked big organizations, and thus Microsoft.

Since 1999 i entered the field of industrial programing known as Info
Technology. In particular, i'm a web application programer on the unix
platform. My daily office machines are PC running Windows (NT and
followings) and remote unix servers. I find NT quite usable and almost
never crashed at least as a desktop machine. I don't know much about
any MS-bred technologies, but i knew quite a lot about unix. My
attitude towards unixes is that it is the MOST incompetent thing in the
computing world. I am an outright unix HATER. I have becoming
increasingly nosy about unix MS-hater's claims technology-wise as most
readily found from slashdot.org, from User Interface design to protocol
embrace & extend to innovation to power & flexibility to security
considerations. In the past few years, i started to pay mild attention
to the question of wether from a technical or technological point of
view MS should be hated.

Even i don't know much Microsoft technologies except as a daily Windows
user, but in my personal judgment system among all things considered, i
think that if MS has done damage to society then unix has done hundred
times more. I believe that Microsoft Windows technologies is on the
whole FAR superior to unixes both as a PC and server, all things
considered. (this includes the fact that unix is more stable then
Windows NT, today.) Comparing to the other major desktop Operating
System the Mac OS (where unixes are so incompetent it is out of the
question), with intact conscience i think that MS's OS since about 1997
has left my beloved Mac OS in dust. If Windows 98 is poor quality (i
know it is), then Mac OS of that year is neighborhood crap.

(i plan to have book-length material on the reasons, but here for now i
can only briefly state my beliefs in a conclusive manner.)

The above is my beliefs on product or technological quality aspect of
Microsoft-hatred. I have much interest in technology than politics or
business, thus my know-how of social oriented issues pales in
comparison. I have never examined the accusations of MS's evil business
practices, other than news hearsay. To this day, i know little of what
is true or false regarding MS's business practices. Although i have
never undertook an interest of a topic, but as a philosopher i have
gathered opinions regarding a topic from great variety of sources and
experiences, and can form a personal judgment. And from my observations
of computing industry, and my little knowledge of economics, all things
and experiences lead me to believe that there is little to no reason to
hate MS for their business practice either. Sometimes last year i read
Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics. Although he never talked about
software in the book, but that book made a major impression on my views
of MS-hating issues.

Around 1994 i read the book _Steve Jobs and the NeXT big thing_ by
historian Randall E. Stross, and i was highly positively impressed by
him. I have then learned that he also wrote a book in 1997 on MS: _The
Microsoft Way : The Real Story of How the Company Outsmarts Its
Competition_. Although i have not read the book, but from amazon.com
reviews it indicated that he simply think that the success of MS is due
to being smart.

There are various lawsuits against the MS giant in the last few years,
from Sun Microsystem's Java lawsuit, to United States vs Microsoft
anti-trust lawsuit, to last month's AOL suit for Netscape browser. As
you know, Sun is a unix vendor, with its own greedy grip on Java. I
frankly don't buy any bullshit from the Sun Micro commercial turd. MS
may be devious with their own “standard”-breaking java, but no more
hanky-panky than Sun's “Universal” Java sham in the first fucking
place. Any commercial organizations do devious things for their own
interest. As to United State's claim that MS screwed innovation by
bundling browser, that itself is a fantastic fucking idea. Integrating
browser into OS is an innovation, and amid so great many claims that MS
does not innovate, i can think of quite a few cases where MS has in
fact been innovative or responsible for technological lead from my
personal computing experiences. (Microsoft Word accounts for great many
innovations in word processing along.) And, who needs the government to
meddle with industry? (as i have learned in Thomas's Sowell's book,
anti-trust cases are invariably all the same.) Lastly is the AOL's
bandwagon-hopping lawsuit in the name of fantastically incompetent
Netscape the-loser-browser. Fuck America On-Line.

I'm often ignorant when it comes to economics practicality, such as
stock market or personal finance. Since about 1999, i started to become
a stock holder, thus started to learn a bit of its nature. On this
process, one thing came to my attention is that Microsoft is a public
owned company. Public owned companies are directed by the people who
own its stock, and any joe can purchase it. That means, if Microsoft is
an evil empire, then the public shares a great blame. From this aspect,
i don't see any sense of Microsoft-hatred either. Blame the public,
such as your boss and neighbors and wife and friends and community, or,
blame the fantastic greed-oriented system called capitalism that made
USA so prosperous far beyond the moral-oriented communist/socialist
nations or sovereignly ruled kingdoms & queendoms.

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© copyright 2003 by Xah Lee.

 xah at xahlee.orghttp://xahlee.org/

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