[unrev-II] Slashdot thread; License type

From: John \ (johnwerneken@netzero.net)
Date: Thu May 11 2000 - 23:24:47 PDT

  • Next message: Jack Park: "[unrev-II] Another open source document management system"

    Eric, thank you for your thoughtful reply. It is nice to see a non-devotee
    of Microsoft note that my views have some validity, and it is nicer to have
    learned something from you.

    I have been enjoying a hobby web site lately, that so far has been
    inexhaustible: in several weeks of poking around, I have neither exhausted
    its internal links nor its interest. Maybe I am impoverished in my surfing
    options <grin> but it is about the single most interesting - except possibly
    Slashdot.org, which is a different thing entirely, a journal and an archive.
    The site is http://www.friesian.com/#contents and the main items are
    philosophy, chronologies & maps of ancient dynasties, libertarianism, and
    military history. You might enjoy it too.

    I mention this because you have caused me to change my mind. I now favor a
    divorce of the Microsoft OS and Applications departments. The reason is I
    learned something from the above-mentioned site. For many years, I have
    believed that my obligation was to try to do the right action, and to leave
    the results to God. This philosophy professor has taught me a "Socratic
    principle": the principle of human ignorance, he calls it. The pineapple
    matches my pre-existing belief but extends it, as follows: since I in
    principle can not know for sure the results of my actions, and since in
    principle I can never know the desires of others as well as I know my own, I
    should NEVER justify a means by an end.

    If I do not really know the affect of my action, nor how it will really
    affect others, I must act rightly (by the standard Christians call the
    "Golden Rule"), and truly abandon justifying things by their results.

    As regards Microsoft, I kind of like the cheap-in-one-box result (even if I
    totally agree that as regards most of the pieces, things like DR DOS, Word
    Perfect, Corel Draw, Netscape, Borland Paradox, Lotus 1-2-3 or Borland
    Quatro, Stacker, DesqView, etc etc - the original competition was FAR
    better, at least at one time, cause I used to use ALL of those things in
    preference to Microsoft).

    But analyzing just their action, and not the result, the bogus
    OS-Applications "Chinese Wall" really let them unfairly outdo a lot of
    competitors. The Word Perfect developers working on the MS-IBM OS2 are
    perhaps the premier example of that...

    So I agree that some of their action was wrong, and should be undone and
    also prevented in the future.

    Thank you for your insight.

    I still lack sympathy for Microsoft's competitors, in that MS ended up doing
    a better deal FOR ME (and IMHO for the average user and for the industry in
    general). But results should not be the basis of a moral/legal judgment (or
    we would be hanging people who caused accidents, and praising those who
    assassinated people we are afraid of).

    You are right, and I shall try to keep that in mind, should the topic of MS
    present itself to my mind again.

    Eric Armstrong Wrote:

    >Message: 15
    > Date: Wed, 10 May 2000 14:49:39 -0700
    > From: Eric Armstrong <eric.armstrong@eng.sun.com>
    >Subject: Re: Slashdot thread; License type
    >John \"sb\" Werneken wrote:
    >> Microsoft in my opinion got where they are by doing three things
    >> better than others did. And better than others do now:
    >> 1. The concept of the application suite (and, later, the OS) gaining a
    >> semi-common user interface.
    >Yes, yes, yes, and yes. They were the FIRST and often the ONLY company
    >to really "get it", to understand that a person's *time* is the most
    >valuable commodity on the planet, and that wasting even a millisecond of
    >it was essentially immoral, and ultimately ineffective. There are Unix
    >hackers today who *still* don't get it, but many fewer of them now that
    >MS has beat their brains into mush. (My own moral imperative: If you
    >take enough time from enough people, it is the moral equivalent of
    >killing someone. Any software that is intended for wide, general use
    >*must* be as ergonomically efficient as possible.)
    >> 2. The concept of embrace, extend, engulf:
    >Here, we part company. If Lotus (an application vendor) had managed to
    >do so, I would say great. If MS-app (the soon to be independent app
    >division of MS) does so, that will also be fine. But MS abused its OS
    >monopoly to carry out that policy. I'm a fan of the standard interface,
    >and I only buy software that meets those standards. But a lot of
    >competition has vaporized that probably would still be in business.
    >There were companies making all kinds of add ons, all competing with one
    >another. But once MS took one, the rest vanished overnight.
    >> 3. The care, feeding, and management of third part developers. The VBA
    >> world for example.
    >> So they try to be accessible to ordinary people; comprehensive in what
    >> they deliver; and thrive by remaining valuable themselves to maybe a
    >> million or so more minor-league developers. Not bad concepts to emulate.
    >They do work hard at it. What they deliver is not always the best. It
    >can take a long time to search their knowledge base CDs for example, but
    >they work hard at getting whatever they have out the door. They
    >understood better than everyone that you have to get the developers on
    >board. They write the apps that bring the customers. It was a lesson
    >lost on nearly everyone in the industry until Java came along and
    >demonstrated their thorough understanding of the facts of life -- the
    >battle is for developer mindshare. Developers will then battle for
    >customer mindshare, amplifying your message many-fold

    There's still time to order Calyx & Corolla flowers for mom.
    These fresh and elegant bouquets are available for delivery
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