Re: [unrev-II] Slashdot thread; License type

From: Jack Park (
Date: Fri May 12 2000 - 10:45:02 PDT

  • Next message: Jack Park: "[unrev-II] Open Information"

    I don't think we're quite done with this thread. It seems that Gates did a
    thing in Time, in which he claimed that MS invented the toolbar. For a
    response to this, see:

    From: John "sb" Werneken <>

    > 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
    > 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
    >, which is a different thing entirely, a journal and an
    > The site is 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
    > 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,
    > 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
    > 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
    > a better deal FOR ME (and IMHO for the average user and for the industry
    > general). But results should not be the basis of a moral/legal judgment
    > 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
    > present itself to my mind again.
    > Eric Armstrong Wrote:
    > >Message: 15
    > > Date: Wed, 10 May 2000 14:49:39 -0700
    > > From: Eric Armstrong <>
    > >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
    > >>
    > >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
    > by Mother's Day. To order, please visit
    > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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