No one expects the spinach inquisition; our chief weapon is iron and vitamin C!

Someday, it will be legal to strangle trolls...

Date/Time Permalink: 03/25/08 05:30:56 pm
Category: General

I guess part of the game when you're a FOSS blogger is that every great once in a while, you have to swat away some brat who comes running up to hurl spitballs at you. I don't usually stoop to doing it myself (a) because 90 other bloggers need something to rant about, too, and (b) as I mentioned in L.I.C. symptom #3, pigeons will always crap on the statues of heroes. But I haven't taken my turn lately, so it's my day to play whack-a-mole. After all, how much trouble is it to hose off some pigeon droppings?

Today's pigeon crapping on the alternative-computer-platform-statue is Don Reisinger, who took a break from alphabetizing his dingleberry collection today to assure us, in the most strident tones, that we will some day hate Apple and Google as we now do Microsoft.

Yeah, I know. Cheap shot, easily deflected, so why even bother? I dunno. It's slum day. 'Sides, if Slashdot can serve it, I can throw it away.

Mr. Reisinger backs up his claim by writing an amazing science fiction story where he cites things that never happened, and refers to it as "memory lane". I guess it's possible that these are his memories, but how he got them I don't want to know. Whatever it was, I'm sure there's a clinic for it.

Lie #1: "power translates to evilness" - no, it doesn't, never did, never will. Irresponsible abuse of power is evilness. This is why dictators are hated and why fair, just rulers are revered.

Lie #2: "there was once a day when Bill Gates and Microsoft were loved by millions across the globe." - Nope, not so. Bill Gates started out being an asshole from day one. Let's not forget AN OPEN LETTER TO HOBBYISTS by William Henry Gates III, in 1976, a full four years before Micro-soft (as it was then called) cut their first floppy disk of MS-DOS. This snit was over Microsoft BASIC, and even then all he did was take advantage of the generosity of the Homebrew Computer Club and the free trade of software and ideas (the standard practice at the time), until he had his own BASIC interpreter which he then was trying to monopolize the industry with. From Micro-soft BASIC vs everybody else's programming language in 1976, to Microsoft vs Apple and Linux and Google today in 2008, that's 32 years of trying to set himself up as the dictator of the computer world and being the same jerk he always was. Not a damn thing has changed.

Lie #3: "an industry that was dominated by that 'evil' IBM." - At its worst, IBM was only seen kind of like Google is today; so powerful that it was warily eyed. And even occasionally pulling a questionable move. But never has any other technology company committed enough raw crimes against humanity itself to be fit to polish the handle of Microsoft's poison dagger. At its peak, IBM was dominating the mainframe, while the home computer market was a carnival of choice with Wangs, Apples, Commodores, Amigas, TIs, Ataris, Tandys, and more too numerous to mention. If IBM was ever as cutthroat as Microsoft, how come IBM had dozens of equally-strong competitors in the home PC market where Microsoft has two?

Lie #4: "looking like the David to IBM's Goliath, Microsoft" - Excuse me, but Microsoft left skid marks on its way to make a deal with IBM. OS/2, anyone?

Lie's #5 to end... "blah blah" - As for Apple, there was a time when Apple was the top of the home computing market. That was the MacIntosh in 1984, still many years before Micro-soft quite dinking around with its clumsy DOS ripoff and stole the Mac's desktop UI.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

The irritating part is the way these swindler historical-revisionists take advantage of declining education and literacy standards to hoodwink the public as to what happened. I have at least faith that most people know better than to fall for it, though human natures does provide a counter-proof from time to time.

You want an eye-witness account of the birth of Microsoft? This node at Everything2, mislabeled as "why I love Linux" (should be "why I cringe at MS"!) is the truest, most accurate description that I have found of how MS creeped in like a cockroach and the next thing you knew, it was everywhere. That node is the gospel truth, folks. The baggie, the typos, the Big Brother commercial, everything. Whoever wrote it, I beseech them to preserve it somewhere else, against the day E2 should shutter.

Ask anyone who was there. Micro-soft was a second-stringer, a bit player, while life went on as normal with 10 different kinds of computers everywhere and all of us quite content with the choices. Then, overnight, all of the computers suddenly changed into Windows 3.1 boxes. And our first thought was "Yuck, what did they do to this MacIntosh?"

As for ITworld, I don't take it too personal. Ziff-Davis gave us a worse time, and now that they've gone bankrupt, it's understandable that ITworld has to take up the slack. It's helpful to the rest of us on a slow day.

ah, a pwetty widdle sig!

Update: ZDNet may be going out, but it's going out with a bang. It took InfoWorld's vaguely neutral headline about how USA's unpopularity abroad translates into increased faith in open source, and spun it into the hysterical shriek "Is open source anti-American?" Which, I expect, will be followed soon by "Is open source teh werk of terrists?" "Is open source teh spawn uv Satan?" and "Should we just throw the Linux users into Guantanamo Bay now and be done with it?"

Addendum: While I'm here, in the post above, I did not mean to whitewash IBM. I did say that they had some questionable actions to their account. You just have to remember that IBM's history goes back to the 1880's. A few bad marketing decisions during their mainframe computer era count for far less on their record, considering they're a company that pretty much invented the computing market over the course of a century. It's a mere tarnish spot, opposed to Microsoft which is a 30-year-old company which simply buys technology and sells it at a mark-up, while using mafia tactics to drive out competitors.

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