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That's It

Week of October 19, 2003

Goodbye to Win32.

I refuse to work any longer for a platform supplied by a company with such a blatant lack of ethics and programming standards, and I refuse to worry about customers of that platform who lack the intestinal fortitude to make the switch. That's it: I'm out.

I never liked Windows; it was forced on us, as for many, and there was no freedom of choice. Corporations went where the market went. Aesthetics and ethics had nothing to do with it back then.

When I grew up, IBM mainframes were still the staple in our part of the world, with 80% of all programs written in ISPF COBOL and run with JCL. Unix was on the way in, but only on the periphery, and small Tinker Toy terminal systems were all you could get. The IBM PC meant hacking was more fun and results were more impressive. The Mac was nowhere to be seen - mostly because, as one crony put it, 'real programmers don't use mice, they use command lines'. GUIs were never considered in the corporate environment.

Windows came after years of false starts, mostly because Lotus, Intel, and Microsoft finally got their act together with their memory standards. Suddenly Microsoft had as much memory to play with as their colleagues in Cupertino, and Windows has always been a RAM-hog, so the whole thing was off to the races.

Steve Ballmer traveled to While Plains and ended the joint venture with IBM (which gave the latter equal rights and revenues all the way through Windows 3.1). OS/2 suddenly looked better for the lack of 'help' from Redmond. And the Fourth Reich was on its way to a renaissance all of its own.

The breaking point came when a middle echelon Microsoft executive admitted his company had deliberately attempted to sabotage the Sun Microsystems Java Standard, which 119 other companies along with Microsoft had willfully signed (and continued to abide by).

The Microsoft idea was to migrate essential Java logic to modules which only ran on Microsoft Windows. The effect would be that surfers on other desktop platforms would get a message: 'To be able to view this site, you have to be running Microsoft Windows.'

I was relatively new to the World Wide Web at the time, but the nerve of these people in Redmond really got to me. I remember the stories of 'Dirty Dicky' Nixon and his 'plumbers', and this impressed me as at least as low-down and scummy as those crooks. We were dealing with brats here - brats and crooks in Redmond, Washington.

All the while the US federal government amassed evidence against Microsoft (they began way back in 1992 by contacting Mosaic/Netscape, amongst other corporations) Windows NT took off like a comet, and yours truly got on the bandwagon on a whim and for years never looked back.

I taught for the best of them, and soon was known back home as 'Mr Encyclopaedia' for my fingertip recall of Win32 APIs and 'black art' secrets. And it was fun to travel - for a while at least - and the Radsoft site took off like a comet too - temporarily ruining one marriage and driving us all a little bit nuts.

While I am not solely responsible for the code in the XPT, I have been, since 1999, 99% responsible for the code-cleaning and maintenance, the documentation, the web site and the day-to-day affairs.

That will all change now. There are new staff on board, who will more than adequately manage things. When it's time for them to make themselves known, they will - and you might be surprised to find out who they are.

But for me it's over. Given my present health, there is practically speaking no way I could continue anyway, but I have come to the realisation that even given a clean bill of health, I would no longer pursue it.

We've seen too much by now. Bill Gates is not a hero. He is the richest person in the world. Steve Ballmer is right up there in the top five. I have no respect for these people. All I see today is evil - and very thick evil to boot. I cannot find inspiration in what they do, nor any joy in working on such a flaky platform.

For those of you who are stuck in Windows, I say only: It serves you right. You had the opportunity to get out, and don't tell me otherwise. You had the opportunity to improve your lives, and you didn't take it. You opted to stay put and keep on whining.

A large part of the web content of this site has been, paradoxically, against the use of Microsoft Windows for some time, and this because it was the honest thing to do. Yes, Radsoft sell Windows software, but people deserve the truth, and no one in their right mind can recommend people run Windows.

The Radsoft site may very well continue to decry the use of Microsoft Windows, but that is not my call anymore. I may continue to help out and contribute, albeit sporadically. I have other things to do today, and they give so much more. What happens here is the decision, starting today, of others, and not of me.

So that's it: I'm out. 1989 to 2003, and I've stayed far too long. Farewell.

Rick

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