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The Pot Is Black

Week of August 12, 2004

CNET executive editor Charles Cooper peers out from under his Mark Spitz facial fuzz and makes the claim that there's a Microsoft Rorschach test which supposedly is of some import.

Charles (may we call him Chucky?) finds it exceptional that people have anything to complain about when it comes to Microsoft. What this has to do with Rorschach is not known. But Chucky is essentially a pot calling a kettle black.

'Microsoft has become a latter day (Mormon?) Rorschach test for people who are passionate about their technology.'

There may be passion involved, but it is not necessarily the flag-waving kind. And it may be hard for a sycophant like Chucky to realise, but there are such things as software professionals out there who care only for the art and see nothing else - not the company, not the person, not even Chucky's militant gay politics as an issue. The wise professional will never wave a flag anyway, being inherently adverse to the alpha male monotheistic culture that seems to be seeping out of Chucky's every pore.

'Thus we are told that Microsoft won the legendary operating system war against IBM's OS/2 because of dirty dealing.'

No, those who have an opinion worth hearing never said that. What they do remind us of, however, is that Microsoft do a lot of dirty dealing - period. Right into the launch of Windows 95 we have the AARD code as but one example of thousands.

'Forget that Big Blue was utterly incompetent in marketing its software against Windows.'

No, Big Blue were not good - but OS/2 was a joint project between Microsoft and IBM, with Microsoft doing more than the lion's share of the programming - and with expected results. Simultaneously Big Blue were 'co-owners' of Windows, so it's hardly to their detriment when the product sells well. All that money earned on sales of Windows 3.0 in 1990, and all the money earned on the 1992 explosions known as Windows 3.1, Windows 3.11, Windows for Workgroups 3.1, and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 - half went to Big Blue. And that's not a small chunk of change.

But it's not about market clout anyway - and again, a sycophant with a very special agenda is hardly going to take the time to investigate the matter. There are far more important things on the mind - such as using one's power and clout as editor of an influential e-zine to be able to play ass-wipe with the 'big boys'. (Think this is a slur, an exaggeration? Think again.)

'As the technology industry's most famous convicted predatory monopolist, the company will never again win the benefit of the doubt.'

Something Chucky ostensibly thinks is sad, oh so sad. Amazing how one can say different things with words that officially mean the same? Chucky's hopping over the entire DOJ matter and making it sound like it's a good thing to be a predator - where any responsible human being is repulsed at the very idea. If one ever should find oneself getting into licking the boots of the meanies, it's time to go back to school - all the way back, to kindergarten - to learn once again about right and wrong and that curious abstract known as 'ethics'.

People like to feel pride and integrity in their work - all except the likes of Chucky who's established a kingdom up a hole for himself where his nose can go any time he wants.

'So much so that even Microsoft's ostensible good deeds only serve as more fodder for trashing.'

What Chucky is referring to here is the fact that Microsoft will sell Windows cheaper in the Far East to get people to use it. This is supposedly a good deed according to Chucky, and therefore anyone suspicious of Bill Gates is probably on their way to failing Chucky's Rorschach test.

And it's at this point that the reader starts to realise that this extremely well crafted but perversely slanted editorial is not a latter day Olympic swimmer just mouthing off and baring his soul: no, this is very well made precisely because it is manipulative.

Bill Gates went on record long ago to tell people he wanted the orientals to steal his software. 'As long as they're going to steal, we want them to steal ours - then we'll figure out later on down the line when they get dependent on it (heard of 'lock-in', Chucky?) how we're going to make them pay.'

Except that the orientals don't want his crappy software: they're working on their own version of Linux! As with Munich, the price didn't matter, not even when it was cut by a walloping 90%. These people care about money only when they've taken care of quality.

Which doesn't even bring up the fact that in the last year alone Microsoft have paid out nearly a billion dollars in class action settlements where they were doing the old 'price-gouging' thing. People are simply incensed that they had to pay so much - and for such crap - and fight for years to get their money back, while Bill with not a flick of an eyebrow gives the stuff away to others, nearly for free.

Because he can afford it: he's just ripped off his so-called 'fellow countrymen'.

Bill Gates is a shit, pure plain and simple. He might be the richest (or the second richest) individual in the world, but that doesn't mean he stops being a shit. Bill Gates will never stop being a shit. In the worlds of software and business both it is hard to envision any creep more a shit than him. He's detestable.

'The psycho nature of the conspiracy theorists is something to behold.'

This in reference to the comments that Bill's been doing business with the Far East only to keep Linux out. The next thing we'll hear is that ESR never did get any documents from Microsoft, and the New York Times made up the whole thing, and that everybody's just been walking around with conversations in their heads.

We know Bill is devious: we've learned that. We've seen how he deals. We've seen his OEM agreements. Judge TP Jackson has delineated the incredibly complex and evil methods used by Bill to shut Netscape and Sun out of the PC market. We know this: it's on record with the United States Department of Justice.

This becomes conspiracy theory? This becomes psycho? Netscape, Sun, and the DOJ are all psycho?

'Dim the lights, tune the music, and insert Bill Gates into the starring role of Ming the Merciless.'

Actually Ming is far cooler. Actually Ming is by definition cool - something Bill will never be. But put in a room with both, not many people would not prefer Ming over Bill. At least you know where you have Ming - he was never a liar of the order of Bill.

And that's about all Chucky has to tell us this time around. So before he takes his taxi down to the Tenderloin, it's time to tell him a few things:

  1. Damages caused by Microsoft products since the new millennium are in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Bill Gates has even come out and made a (lame) public apology. People are not supposed to be tired of Microsoft for all this?

  2. People are getting their identities stolen. A lady in California is suing Microsoft for this, as she believes - as do many - that Microsoft are responsible. Her legal counsel has since turned her case into a class action.

  3. The European Commission (on the other side of the Atlantic, Chucky) have fined Microsoft half a billion dollars for their brutish and unethical behaviour - and people are not supposed to be enraged at what Microsoft have done?

  4. The US accounting office condemned Microsoft IIS several years ago already, agreeing with Gartner that the product was unusable and could not be fixed and that all federal offices should abandon it. This is something we are going to just look over?

  5. The Department of Homeland Security warns people to stop using Internet Explorer - for purposes of United States 'homeland security' - and people are just supposed to keep on going, keep on smiling, and not be mad at Bill and Microsoft at all?

The list is endless. We all know about Bill's dirty tricks, and the true engineer worries just as much or more about the deplorable quality of software emanating from Redmond and decries the situation because the world, the industry, and above all the craft deserve better.

They all deserve someone who cares, someone with a conscience and with ethics - and not this snotty little petit bourgeois brat with the vacant eyes and the twisted two-bit smart-arsed evil smirk. He may be richest but he's still the all-time creep, and no amount of money will change that.

Bill Gates is hated because he deserves hate. Microsoft are hated because they deserve hate.

Chucky can join them. The pot is black, Chucky - not the kettle.

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