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High Hopes

Week of August 8, 2004

Apple pie in the sky hopes!
  - S Cahn/J van Heusen for the movie A Hole in the Head

If we weren't viewing this as such a key priority, then we wouldn't be giving it away as a free thing.
  - Bill Gates

Ever since it was released nearly three years ago Windows XP has been a fun target for hackers and an annoyance for critics growing increasingly impatient with the unethical way Microsoft do business - and now, when it's more than two years since Bill Gates apologised to the world and promised to do something about it ('Trustworthy Computing'), Microsoft are finally going to try.

'Try' being a highly operative word.

The fanfare is for Windows XP Service Pack 2, originally promised a year ago and now due out shortly.

What with the US Department of Homeland Security telling people to abandon Internet Explorer, things have been getting tight in Bill Gates's otherwise empty undies. Still, he wouldn't be true to form if he hadn't issued the above statement on the eve of the pack's release.

SP2 has cost MS about $300 million. That sounds like a lot until you're reminded that IE itself cost over FIVE BILLION - and nary was there ever a thought of recuperating those costs. Bill Gates just wanted the Netscape and Sun bastards out of his market. So much for Gates's smart-arsed tongue and key priorities.

It's hard to hate Bill Gates. But not impossible. The Bible says something about hating the sin and not the sinner, but those Bible dudes never met Bill Gates or he'd be dead by now, what with their eye for an eye shit and all that.

Abraham never had to run Bill Gates's crappy software.

The world has had great sport with Windows and Bill Gates, and even though we laugh at how he appoints himself Chief Software Architect and we laugh at and abandon his software, we still hold our collective breath.

For the mismanaged fortunes of William H Gates 3 have meant a dent in everybody's quality of living. Bill Gates has through his own snooty greed made the Internet a totally crappy place to hang out.

About half the Windows users in the world run Windows XP today. That's a lot of blithering morons. But the other half still run something else - and this Service Pack won't help them one bit. And they'd be a lot smarter at this stage of the game switching to some flavour of Unix - and it would be a lot cheaper too.

Not to rain on the Redmond Parade, but honestly: do the announced SP2 'enhancements' sound like a total about-face for William H Gates 3? Would he ever have been worried about security if his bottom line weren't affected?

So we the world hold our collective breath. This will take a while. The hackers may surprise us and unleash a new storm within the next few days, or they may wait and look at this Service Pack 2 to see what they can do with it.

Maybe it will be a while. Maybe too many people will say: 'Download all that? Or wait until October and BUY IT? I already bought the shite and I have to buy it again?' Then these people will go into Wal-Mart and pick up a Linux box for $200. Woo-hoo.

But the Internet will not be the exciting place it has been if Microsoft exploits don't happen at the rate of several dozen a day. For years now no one has actually accomplished anything online - it's all been bashing Microsoft, and it's admittedly been cool. But it must stop: it must come to an end. We can hate Bill Gates for only so long; after that we have to start ignoring him or welcome him into the world community forever - and who would want to do that?

Can Bill Gates be ignored? Yes, if this Service Pack 2 doesn't work. If the attacks continue. And no one seriously thinks they're going to stop. After all, we're talking Redmond coders here! These buffoons are the worst in the industry and proud of it!

But we shall see. It shall be several weeks yet before we have any indication how things are going. Clearly Microsoft are trying to win public support here, turn the tide. Can they do it? Only time will tell.

All problems just a toy balloon
They'll be bursted soon!
They're just bound to go pop!
Oops! There goes another problem - kerplop!

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