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For What It's Worth

Week of September 19, 2002
We're not the fringe, Bill Gates; we're the majority, and we're even more than that.

There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear

People are abandoning Microsoft in great numbers. It's no longer a political issue - it's a practical one. Microsoft is going to screw you if you stay with them. Microsoft is going to repay your loyalty by screwing everything you own on your own computer.

They're going to turn your computer off, they're going to corrupt everything you have, they're going to ruin everything through their trademark sheer stupidity, they're going to try a stab at self-help and blow you up.

They're going to run illicit traffic in and out of your computer. They're not going to tell you, in fact they're going to refuse to tell you, what they're doing and what's going on.

After people have in this new millennium grown so security and privacy conscious, who is going to stand for that?

People are running intrusion detection systems and firewalls and anti-virus software and anti-trojan and anti-adware software; they run the Extreme Power Tools and keep close tabs on what's going on in their machines.

They've been sensitised.

And now, because Billg is greedy and desperate like never before, they're suddenly going to give up all that, going to give up their sensitivity they've fought hard to develop for so long, going to give up their personal integrity, just for the sake of the supposed privilege of running one of Billg's very expensive, incredibly leaky, catastrophically vulnerable, crash-prone, headache-prone operating systems?

Not on your life.

There's battle lines being drawn

Linux drew up the battle lines long ago. Linux promised a free operating system - free in every sense of the word. Free to use, free to copy, free to inspect, free to change. You get the complete source code for free and you can change it anyway you want. And if you write applications for Linux, you don't have to worry about side-effects in your system calls - you just look at the source code to figure out what's going to happen.

And free in the sense that you don't have to pay Microsoft $4,000 a year for the privilege of getting their thousands of worthless CDs, just so you can have the one or two that are important.

And free in the sense of bug-free too: for if everyone has the code, and someone discovers a bug, then as soon as someone posts the fix for that bug, you can either make the change yourself and recompile your kernel, or wait for another distro and take it from there. You don't have to deal with the monolith of Microsoft. You don't have to deal with the lies of Microsoft. And you certainly don't have to deal with the monumental incompetence of Microsoft either.

That's a lot of freedom. History teaches us that you can never take freedom away. Once an individual has experienced freedom, no despot on earth can steal it back.

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep

So now Billg introduces product activation, spyware and stealth downloads, and pushes the UCITA for all he can, trying to threaten his customers into submission instead of trying to woo them. And instead of working on prices so he's a bit more comparable with the totally free Linux, Billg raises his prices instead, and really tries to put the clamps on public and private corporate customers everywhere. People are scared, annoyed, and infuriated. Billg is not winning brownie points with the human race, but fast becoming one of the most hated individuals in existence. In short, he's doing exactly what he shouldn't be doing, as if to say, 'screw you - I can make you feel pain - if you think you can make it without me, think again, and now I am going to punish you not because you chose Linux, but merely because that choice exists. I will make you and everyone pay for the insubordination of Linux.'

But Billg is a wimp in real life, and he really doesn't scare anybody. He can fool some people a bit of the way down the road ahead, but at the end of the day they just push him over. And they're starting to now, in greater numbers than ever before.

Linux and forms of Unix such as OS X were thought to primarily be server operating systems, but the tide is finally turning, and Billg has made it turn. He's forcing people to jump his ship. No one in their right mind can stay with Billg the way he is carrying on.

And what is really amazing is hearing how ordinary people react to the facts of Billg's current campaigns. They tell him to his face, in so many words, to get lost - to stuff it, that they don't need him anymore. Ordinary users. The kind of computer users Billg figured would be too chicken to venture far from his fold. Yes, they are taking on Linux and spitting on Billg without blinking an eye. It is so refreshing to see how much sense people really have. It is like a breath of fresh air, like a wind of change, to see people finally react.

And they have to. And for all Billg's intelligence and wealth, it's a mystery that he did not see it coming himself, for he provoked it. He provoked it himself, and it did not have to go this way at all. The real Billg haters will say he merely decided to finally show all his cards. The Billg neutrals will say the pressure finally drove him out of his mind. The Billg lovers will say they can't understand their leader anymore.

Everything that has been held sacred; that is bandied about on the Internet; in discussion forums such as Intrusions, Security Focus, the e-zines such as Wired, and CNET, and Tech News, and Info World, and Radsoft - all this is turned on its head for the computer user who would continue to run a Microsoft system.

This is no longer marginal - this is so totally black and white like few things in life ever can be. This is not any longer a question of 'what do you feel about monopoly politics' but instead a question of 'WHOOOOO ARRRRRE YOOOOOU?'

Billg thought he knew a lot about people, but the people proved Billg wrong. Billg underestimated the people. He assumed they were weak-willed and could not leave him. He assumed they were dumb and would not understand. He assumed they had no courage and would not dare try anything else.

It's over. It wasn't Radsoft or any other company that drew a line in the sand; it was Billg himself. He made it impossible for people to like him anymore and they fled.

Let's not stop when we've fled the Redmond camp either. Let's go on. Let's make Billg understand what we think of him.

Bill Gates, we are ordinary people with sound value systems, and we have watched you for too long. Bill Gates, we don't like you. We think you are despicable.

Do you understand that, Bill Gates? You're ostracised from the company of mankind. You don't belong here, Bill Gates. You're not a success; you're detested. You're not winning favour for all your donations; you're hated more than ever before.

We're not the fringe, Bill Gates; we're the majority, and we're even more than that. We're mankind, Bill Gates, and we hate you. We renounce you.

You are evil, Bill Gates, you are bad. You cannot hide in your house and convince yourself otherwise. Just as a serial killer, or a genocidal madman, you are hated. We hate you.

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