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A brainstorm for Microsoft

Date/Time Permalink: 04/11/06 12:42:32 pm
Category: General

Microsoft has now opened Port 25, it's public interface between, well, the public, and it's open-source software lab. And comments are open to the public. And ooooooh, the napalm is flowing like wine as legions of random Netizens take this opportunity to tell Microsoft off. One imagines Bill Hilf approaching his login with a suit of armor and a gas mask. I added my own 2¢ of a slightly lesser temperature. I make it clear that whenever they're ready to step out of their cage, I'm right there to show them around.

So, when we ask Microsoft to "play nice" with other software, how could it do that? Oh, lots of ways:

How about having Windows not stomp all over the Master Boot record when first installed on a system with other OS's already running? That would be nice for starters. As it is, dual-booting Windows requires that Windows be installed first, then other systems delicately step around it's mess and install themselves, politely offering you a Grub/Lilo option to hook back to your MS partitions. I myself solved this problem by taking a second-hand machine that already had Windows on it, adding a second drive to install Linux on, had Linux make a floppy boot disk so the MBR wouldn't even be disturbed, and made no move to tell Windows what was going on. I always found Windows worked best if you treated it like a mushroom (i.e. keep it in the dark and feed it manure)

How about Windows on a live CD/USB? A minimalist one that will politely read and write to your Linux partitions on request, and optionally install config files when you tell it to? This is an optimal solution for users of FOSS who keep Windows around for just one or two purposes (like running a commercial package or playing commercial games). Here again, this is a market that Windows has been *missing* *out* on.

Here's a world-friendly suggestion: DITCH Internet Explorer! That thing is a menace to us all, even those who have never touched a Windows PC in their lives. Just shut it down, and point people to Firefox, Opera, Mozilla, Dillo, etc. Heck, even Lynx in a console would be an improvement. What difference does it make whether you give away your own free browser or somebody else gives it away to your customers? A world without Internet Explorer is at last a world with less virii, malware, and exploits...a world where net standards work for anybody. Webmasters world-wide curse your company daily for this blemish. I, for one, gave up trying to make all of my pages IE-compatible; every time I did that, I was stuck in 1995! These days, if somebody complains that my page is messed up, well, I just shrug and say "They validated on w3c for CSS and HTML 4.1 Transitional. Try a different browser." (Note: this validation business does not apply on this blog, yet. I'm still picking at it. It holds true for the rest of the Penguin Pete site. I'm still pondering the mysteries of b2evolution skins.)

I haven't scratched the surface, yet. You could go on all day. But to continue here...let's wait and see if we're just screaming at a brick wall, or is there actual hope of progress.

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