On Microsoft Hatred

By Xah Lee. Date:

Dear Naggum,

It is well known that you are a avid hater of Microsoft, from their technologies to their leader to their business practices. I have now and then seen your impassioned expression of this hatred, scattered among your newsgroup posts.

Personally, i have a inherent distrust toward big organizations. This applies to Microsoft. Since perhaps 1995, MS has become more and more large, and as well becoming a hate target especially among unix communities. Of MS hatred there are two aspects: those who think MS products are utterly incompetent, and those who think MS business practices are the most evil.

I have always been a Apple Macintosh user. I have used a few MS products such as MS Word word processor on the Mac since about 1991, and Mac version of MS Internet Explorer web browser and Outlook Express email program when they became available around 1997 or so free of charge. My experiences have been that MS software on the Mac are pretty good, if not usually better than competitors. In fact, before the MS-hatred era of late 1990s, i recall that i was found of MS Word and would say it was the software that never crashed, with the richest (useful) features. I have not used MS Windows much until 1999, so i cannot judge from my own experience whether people's complains about MS's product's poor quality. By the time i used MS Windows daily in 1999, it was MS Windows NT, and i have moved into industrial programing field now called IT. At the time Apple's OS is around version 8. Although Windows is not as esthetic or intuitive as my beloved Mac OS, but on the whole i think Windows NT beats the shit out of Mac OS by far. Mac OS crashed daily if a info-collecting tech-head like myself are careful, hourly if not, and among quite a few of other reasons.

As the MS hatred is rolling like a snowball, i started to pay attention. On one hand, i never cared for Microsoft. Their sole impression on me before 1998 was that MS Word is good software, and i hate Windows just because i'm a dedicated Apple fan just because Apple had made many revolutionary innovations in both software and hardware, and MS was Apple's market enemy. Although i think the unix crowd are tech morons of the world, but when it comes to political issues, i'm inclined to side with their freedom loving and paranoia propensities. I'm ashamed to admit, that i started to visit unix moron's mecca the slashdot.org around 1999, and have read quite a lot of their MS hatred verbiage, from drivel of sopho-morons to Eric Raymond's Open Source Jihad to Richard Stallman's Free Software Foundation. Perhaps due to their propaganda, at times i shudder at the mind-numbing MS juggernaut, and have felt ready to join their cause and kill Microsoft.

Since 1999, my behavior have in fact been mildly anti-Microsoft. I would, for example, mention Free Software or Open Source in meetings, avoid using MS products myself and convert all my MS Word files i have on my Mac to some standard format such as plain text, and also use the Free Software Foundation's GNU Public License for my own software dabblings. Still, i was never a MS hater. Many colleagues i know are MS haters, but i'm just a mild Free Software proponent and was never sure i should be a MS hater. I could have investigated the issue, by studying the various lawsuits, check out MS history, exam and verify MS hater's essays, but life is short and i have other interests so i did not undertook such activities and never decided whether MS should be hated. I just disliked big organizations, and thus Microsoft.

Since 1999 i entered the field of industrial programing known as Info Technology. In particular, i'm a web application programer on the unix platform. My daily office machines are PCs running Microsoft Windows (NT and followings) and remote unix servers. I find NT quite usable and almost never crashed at least as a desktop machine. I don't know much about any MS-bred technologies, but i knew quite a lot about unix. My attitude towards unixes is that it is the MOST incompetent thing in the computing world. I am a outright unix HATER. I have becoming increasingly nosy about unix MS-hater's claims technology-wise as most readily found from slashdot.org, from User Interface design to protocol “embrace and extend” to innovation to power and flexibility to security considerations. In the past few years, i started to pay mild attention to the question of whether from a technical or technological point of view MS should be hated.

Even i don't know much Microsoft technologies except as a daily Windows user, but in my personal judgment system among all things considered, i think that if MS has done damage to society then unix has done hundred times more. I believe that Microsoft Windows technologies is on the whole FAR superior to unixes both as a PC and server, all things considered. (this includes the fact that unix is more stable than Windows NT, today. (as opposed to examing unix's early years)) Comparing to the other major desktop Operating System the Mac OS (where unixes are so incompetent it is out of the question), with intact conscience i think that MS's OS (Windows NT) since about 1997 has left my beloved Mac OS in dust. If Windows 98 is poor quality (i know it is), then Mac OS of that year is neighborhood crap.

(i plan to have book-length material on the reasons, but here for now i can only briefly state my beliefs in a conclusive manner.)

The above is my beliefs on product or technological quality aspect of Microsoft-hatred. I have much interest in technology than politics or business, thus my know-how of social oriented issues pales in comparison. I have never examined the accusations of MS's evil business practices, other than news hearsay. To this day, i know little of what is true or false regarding MS's business practices. Although i have never undertook a interest of a topic, but as a philosopher i have gathered opinions regarding a topic from great variety of sources and experiences, and can form a personal judgment. And from my observations of computing industry, and my little knowledge of economics, all things and experiences lead me to believe that there is little to no reason to hate MS for their business practice either. Sometimes last year i read Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics Buy at amazon . Although he never talked about software in the book, but that book made a major impression on my views of MS-hating issues.

Around 1994 i read the book Steve Jobs and the NeXT big thing Buy at amazon by historian Randall E Stross, and i was highly positively impressed by him. I have then learned that he also wrote a book in 1997 on MS: The Microsoft Way : The Real Story of How the Company Outsmarts Its Competition Buy at amazon. Although i have not read the book, but from amazon.com reviews it indicated that he simply think that the success of MS is due to being smart.

There are various lawsuits against the MS giant in the last few years, from Sun Microsystem's Java lawsuit, to United States vs Microsoft anti-trust lawsuit, to last month's AOL suit for Netscape browser. As you know, Sun is a unix vendor, with its own greedy grip on Java. I frankly don't buy any bullshit from the Sun Micro commercial turd. MS may be devious with their own “standard”-breaking java, but no more shady than Sun's “Universal” Java sham in the first faaking place. Any commercial organizations do devious things for their own interest. As to United State's claim that MS screwed innovation by bundling browser, that itself is a fantastic faaking idea. Integrating browser into OS is a innovation, and amid so great many claims that MS does not innovate, i can think of quite a few cases where MS has in fact been innovative or responsible for technological lead from my personal computing experiences. (Microsoft Word accounts for great many innovations in word processing alone.) And, who needs the government to meddle with industry? (as i have learned in Thomas's Sowell's book, anti-trust cases are invariably all the same. Anti-trust laws in the outset purport to protect the consumer, but always ends up as a weapon used by competing corporations against the successful in a free-market system.) Lastly is the AOL's bandwagon-hopping lawsuit in the name of fantastically incompetent Netscape browser. FAAK America On-Line.

I'm often ignorant when it comes to economics practicality, such as stock market or personal finance. Since about 1999, i started to become a stock holder, thus started to learn a bit of its nature. On this process, one thing came to my attention is that Microsoft is a public owned company. Public owned companies are directed by the people who own its stock, and any joe can purchase it. That means, if Microsoft is a evil empire, then the public shares a great blame. From this aspect, i don't see any sense of Microsoft-hatred either. Blame the public, such as your boss and neighbors and wife and friends and community, or, blame the fantastic greed-oriented system called capitalism that made USA so prosperous far beyond the moral-oriented communist/socialist nations or sovereignly ruled kingdoms and queendoms.

original post at https://groups.google.com/group/comp.lang.lisp/msg/fcf710fa6f083934?hl=en&dmode=source

Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
From: x…@xahlee.org (Xah Lee)
Date: 23 Feb 2002 08:20:16 -0800
Local: Sat, Feb 23 2002 9:20 am
Subject: Microsoft hatred [was: How I lost my faith]