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Bill Gates Gives $20M to CMU for New Building 919

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-must-reboot-before-taking-this-class dept.
touretzky writes "Carnegie Mellon University announced on Tuesday that The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had donated $20 million toward the cost of a new building to be called the "Gates Center for Computer Science". Some faculty have suggested that in acknowledgment of Mr. Gates' profound influence on the computer software industry, the building should be painted bright blue."
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Bill Gates Gives $20M to CMU for New Building

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  • Poor Bill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JPM NICK (660664) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:25PM (#10262644)
    Even when he tries to do something nice, he gets flamed. The man just donated 20 million to the school. give him a break
  • BSOD jokes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrispyman (710460) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:26PM (#10262656)
    Now I like BSOD jokes as much as the next person but seriously I think that's one area we can atleast applaud Microsoft at. It's really quite a rare date (or an indication of hardware failure) to see a BSOD in Windows XP. Now those damned security issues on the other hand...
  • Re:Poor Bill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vishmaster (684012) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:32PM (#10262716)
    You have to remember Bill is first a Businessman and then a Philanthropist - What bill is indulging here is what is known as Social Investing - Heres how he makes up for the 20mil he spends - 1.Inculcate the 'Microsoft Culture' into the every Person/Animal/THing that ever steps into that building - 2.Set up a future harvesting ground for hiring into his empire when the time is right. Now that they have already been taught the 'Microsoft way' 3.Spread the good word about Microsoft - 20mil worth of marketing does not seem to have the same effect. and yes.. 4.Maybe help the academic community actually grow - PROVIDED - its in the 'Microsoft Way' Not so Poor After all Bill.
  • Re:Poor Bill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Epistax (544591) <epistax&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:32PM (#10262717) Journal
    Sorry I just can't let "poor Bill" get past everyone. Once again, he used the word "Poor" to describe "Bill". Where "Poor" does have many meanings, I feel that he is so overwhelmingly not "Poor" in one definition as to completely knock out all others from the ballpark.

    That being said the best gifts are the anonymous ones. When it's not anonymous, sure, he's giving $20 million and that's great, but he's it at least partly for his name. Still, I'm not complaining that he's doing it.
  • And of course... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nwbvt (768631) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:32PM (#10262718)
    On slashdot someone will complain that this charitable act is just an attempt to push his company's products on college students and the mods will make it +5 insightful.
  • Donation??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:37PM (#10262753)
    C'mon for a multi-billionare (fsck the spelling) paying someone $20M to carve your name on a building in a world famous campus is a cheap ego boost.

    If it was a real donation it would be more discretely done (eg. name it after a famous person other than Gates and perhaps put up a small plaque saying it was funded by Gate foundation).

  • Re:Beatch Please! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antithetical (627066) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:38PM (#10262757)
    You mean like the Gates Foundation (http://www.gatesfoundation.org/default.htm)
    wher e he basically gave away almost 1.2 billion last year? Is half a billion for education plus half a billion for world health enough?
  • $20M but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zorander (85178) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:38PM (#10262760) Homepage Journal
    He wants the campus to build a $50M building with it. Sound like a math problem? yeah. His money is appreciated, but he's asking the campus to build more than he's willing to support, which is mildly questionable.

    Even better, though, the proposed location for the new building is on top of this really shitty excuse for a building that looks like a few mobile homes shoved up against eachother and is generally an eyesore. In the artist's rendering of the plans, it apppears to be styled like many of the more nice looking new and old campus buildings (Green roof, light colored brick, etc) which is definitely a good thing. CMU has some pretty buildings, but it also has some impressive eyesores. Good to see one of them go away.

    Also consider that Microsoft is the #1 employer of CS grads from CMU. This school's students and expertise have served him well, so I'm glad to see that he's willing to give something back.

  • Originally... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xeon4life (668430) <devin&devintorres,com> on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:39PM (#10262772) Homepage Journal
    I was looking into going to CMU for their esteemed Computer Science program, but now I just hope they wont let this influence their set of courses, breadth of experience, or heterogeneous computer labs...
  • Re:Poor Bill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SB5 (165464) <freebirdpatNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:40PM (#10262780)
    You know whats great about CMU? Its got a very large anti-Microsoft culture. But when Microsoft comes to town for recruitment day, its the largest turnout ever.
  • Re:Poor Bill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aixou (756713) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:45PM (#10262806)
    Do we have to dissect every good thing that people do?

    Let's dissect some other things:

    your mom doesn't really love you for you, she loves you because of how you make her feel.

    The fireman who saves you in the building is really only doing it because he wants his buddies to call him a hero.

    Someone who gives a homeless person a dollar is only doing it because they don't want to get shot by the homeless man.

    Your fiancee is only marrying you because she doesn't want to have to be self-sufficient.

    and finally: Stallman does what he does to impress the ladies. ;)

    Can't we just let people do good things sometimes? There is always some element of selfishness in every good deed we do. Let it go. It's a win win situation. Bill gives a great contribution to a school, and he gets to pimp himself a little. so the fuck what.
  • Re:Poor Bill (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DrEldarion (114072) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:46PM (#10262815)
    That's how everything is. People always hate the big guy until they get a chance to be a part.

    You can see the same thing with anti-American sentiment in other countries - people will be very quick to badmouth the US, but start giving out free plane tickets and you'll get mobbed.
  • Re:Poor Bill (Score:2, Insightful)

    by whoppers (307299) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:48PM (#10262839)
    20 million from a school that provides him with the means to make 200 million each year and he likely charges 2 million each year for software licensing, not including the students/sheep that purchse MS products.

    He'll get a break from me when he creates a quality product for a quality price.
  • Re:Poor Bill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linguae (763922) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:49PM (#10262848)

    I agree. I hope this isn't troll/flamebait, but I'm ready to burn some karma, so here it goes....

    Bill Gates may be one of the founders and leaders of a certain company that we all know and love [microsoft.com] [microsoft.com], and there is a lot of things that I don't like about Microsoft (Windows, convicted monopoly, business practices) but Gates himself is an interesting person. He started out as a geek like most of us here. He also does a lot of good things, like donate to schools, AIDS and cancer research, and other charity organizations. Now, I don't like the way that he has ran Microsoft, but I feel that it is important in some cases to separate Gates and his organization from MS. Gates may be "evil," but I think that he shouldn't be flamed for helping out or his donations; not everything he does is a part of an evil plan for M$ to take over the world.

  • "Interesting"? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:50PM (#10262860)
    I'll give you a Score:1, Interesting when you post your own 1040 return, with all charitable contributions itemized, to this thread.

    Until then, STFU.
  • by nathanh (1214) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:50PM (#10262861) Homepage
    On slashdot someone will complain that this charitable act is just an attempt to push his company's products on college students and the mods will make it +5 insightful.

    Even worse, Slashdot will be crapflooded with dozens of people preemptively complaining about the Slashdot bias, and they will be moderated to +5 Insightful as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:51PM (#10262866)
    How about the $6Billion (not an exageration) he gave to help fight diseases in developing countries. I wouldbe willing to bet the kids dying of malaria and AIDs in Africa would find the living situation in Cleaveland quite nice.
  • Re:Beatch Please! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:51PM (#10262867)
    WTF? The guy give 20 million, and folks get upset because it doesn't go to THEIR charity of choice. Sigh...

    This could have gone back into the Microsoft Warchest... would that have been a better option?

  • Naysayers Unite! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nathdot (465087) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:52PM (#10262875)
    It appears Bill has truly acted altruistically here.

    This does not fit our general characterizations of the man.

    How can we reconcile this seeming incongruity? By adopting the following reasoning: "$20 million for a building?! People on this planet are still starving to death! The ego!"
  • It's funny what can be accomplished with money. You can just pay to cover up your dirty deeds.
  • by currivan (654314) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:01AM (#10262939)
    ...on the computer software industry, it should have robust barriers to entry.
  • by GeorgeMcBay (106610) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:12AM (#10263002)

    One mathematics professor lamented that money buys anything -- including undeserved honors. He commented that Stanford University might as well name the building after "Donald Trump" since he is a billionaire.


    Your mathematics professor should take a refresher course in logic. Bill Gates paid for most of the building. Donald Trump didn't. See the difference?

    In any case, as long as you have a shiny nice new building on Bill's dime, who gives a crap what it is called? I never gave a second thought to the names on the buildings at my university even though many were named after robberbarons significantly more sinister than Bill Gates has ever been in their day and within their own respective markets.


    As far as I am concerned, he is an unethical shmuck who bears principal responsibility for the suicide of Gary Kildall


    That's funny, I always thought Gary Kildall bore principal responsibility for his own suicide. Isn't that what suicide is?

  • by TeknoHog (164938) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:13AM (#10263012) Homepage Journal
    Giving away money doesn't make you better if it comes from illegal or otherwise immoral activities.
  • Re:Poor Bill (Score:2, Insightful)

    by log2.0 (674840) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:14AM (#10263018)
    I consider myself to be a bit anti-american. If I have the choice of supporting a homogenous American company vs. something else, I'll take the something else.

    Having said that, if you give me free plane tickets to any 1st world country, I would take them :)
  • Re:Poor Bill (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aussie (10167) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:14AM (#10263019) Journal
    Sorta like Pablo Escobar ?
    Many Columbians still think he was a good bloke because of the great charitable donations.
  • Give Bill a Break (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buchalka (416106) <tim AT buchalka DOT com> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:19AM (#10263061) Homepage
    I can't stand people who bash Bill and his foundation. Sure bash Microsoft if you must, but why the foundation?

    Yes he is mega rich but he still doesn't have to give the money away does he?

    I am sure he could find other ways to get rid of the money. Instead he is doing some good.

    His foundation has practically wiped our Malaria in third world countries [nationalgeographic.com].

    I suppose he did that for advertising as well??

    No I am not a MS support, Linux is my vehicle of choice, but I am man enough to applaud someone doing good for the community.

    Would be nice if some of the wallies posted here could do the same.

    Yeah I know, fat chance of that.
  • Rude? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrscott (548097) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:23AM (#10263093)
    I totally agree. In fact, it was downright despicable to give the campus only $20 MILLION dollars out of the $50 million needed to actually complete the structure. He should just go back to campus, apologize for his rudeness, rip up the check he gave to the college and go home and write a letter of apology for his rudeness.

    Who cares if he's really rich? If he gave away $20 million every day, he wouldn't be for very long, would he? No matter how you look at it, $20 million is a LOT of money.

    I am sometimes absolutely appalled by the unappreciative nature of some people.
  • by bit01 (644603) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:27AM (#10263112)

    Microsoft presentation is standing-room only.

    Reminds me of the crusty old Republican grandpa that attended all the Democrat conventions. His reason? "Just ta keep ma disgust afresh"

    Attendence does not imply support. I'd probably attend such presentations. Anyway, like all good universities CMU supports a variety of viewpoints, not the mono-culture that M$ would like to impose.

    ---

    It's wrong that an intellectual property creator should not be rewarded for their work.
    It's equally wrong that an IP creator should be rewarded too many times for the one piece of work, for exactly the same reasons.
    Reform IP law and stop the M$/RIAA abuse.

  • by buchalka (416106) <tim AT buchalka DOT com> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:28AM (#10263123) Homepage
    It does if your a kid dying of malaria in a third world country you moron (yes bill spends millions helping kids like this).

    I suppose if you were sure a kid you would say "no can't accept your life saving gift, let me die".

    Yeah right, sure you would.

    Not that I agree with what your saying about it being illegal anyway.

    Essentially sir, you are full of it.

  • by Mskpath3 (764785) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:30AM (#10263138)
    Unbelievable. People like you really live in a world of fantasy. 'illegal and immoral'? Do you really have this image of Bill Gates with a monocle, a tophat, and a cigar maniacally laughing and amusing himself with the cries of the poor? It's bizarre, detached-from-reality viewpoints such as yours that will keep honest, rational reform from ever happening.
  • by loraksus (171574) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:31AM (#10263145) Homepage
    I'm not sure what is the big deal about taking down the penguin.

    It wasn't an act to destroy the creativity of students or supress their free speech rights, it was the janitors taking down something that was put up in an act of intellectual masturbation by a bunch of college students who apparantly had too much time on their hands.

    If someone donated $20 million to your school, you'd probably go a bit out of your way to make sure they feel welcome. That includes taking down ads for / mascots of their competitors.
  • by FearUncertaintyDoubt (578295) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:33AM (#10263158)
    Bill Gates is the John D. Rockerfeller of his day. A guy who engaged in massive monopolistic practices to build the world's most immense fortune, only to give most of it away. Each took a fledgling industry (petroleum and PCs) and made them into corporate behemoths (Standard Oil and Microsoft) through shrewdness and ruthless business practices, crushing rivals with every dirty trick possible. Rockerfeller regularly hired employes from his competitors as spies to give him inside information that he would then use to destroy his competition. Both Rockerfeller and Gates were/are completely unrepentant for their deeds, and believed they had done nothing wrong but follow the best policies of good business.

    John D. Rockerfeller Jr. (John D.'s son) was the guy who actually spent a great deal of the money, and the one who had a passion for it; John D. had one passion -- the Standard Oil business. It took a generation for people to forget the Rockerfeller name stood for vicious anti-competitive trusts which left human wreckage in its wake, and turn the Rockerfeller name into one that meant philanthropy. Gates is managing that within a generation, although he did not have to start out in the public relations hole John D. did. Gates, however vilified he is by the slashdot crowd, has been more a hero to the average American. America once despised its capitalist masters. Now we lionize them.

    The Rockerfellers did not follow Carnegie's lead. Carnegie took a lot of criticism for his rather shameless self-promotion. Rockerfeller had a strict religious upbringing and considered giving a duty, one that was its own reward, and was not meant for glorifying oneself. You'll see Gates memorial this-or-that here and there, but for the most part, it doesn't look like Bill Gates is interested in having lots of things named after him.

    History will be very forgiving to Bill Gates. People today think anti-trust legislation is some sort of government power trip to stifle progress, not a vital safeguard that restrained some of the most brutal machinery of captialism ever unleashed. Rockerfeller was shunned and vilified by the presidents and other politicians of his day, and now he's considered a great benefactor to mankind. How much more is Gates going to be remembered as the great success story who gave his money for the good of others? Any blemishes on his character will be easily waved away as jealous competitors, not anyone with a serious grief.

    Another interesting note: the guy that John D. first hired to be his chief for philanthropy was named Frederick Gates.

  • by killjoe (766577) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:36AM (#10263170)
    So he is giving a tiny percentage of the money he made using the most slimy and despicable methods known to mankind. I'm not impressed and I suspect his maker will not be either.

    If a drug dealer game money to local schools would he be a saint? While we are at it Osama Bin Laden built lots of orphanages and schools too.

    "Now I have not checked this, but I suspect the charitable donations from every Linux distro CEO combined would fall well short of this."

    In terms of absolute dollars yes, in terms of percentages I bet they gave more.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:46AM (#10263224)
    Sorry, but Gary Kildall's inability to make his appointment with IBM and successfully sell his product is what - in addition to Gary's direct actions - caused his suicide.

    Truth is - Gates is a better businessman. He sold an inferior product (than CP/M) to IBM, and built an empire out of it.

    Yep - there's no denying the fact that microsoft's only strong suit has been marketing - the products ALWAYS suck - except for the ROM in the Tandy Model 102 - the last thing Gates wrote.

    Hey, I don't like Gates's products, and I don't like his business style, but this is America, where monopolies and cronyism with politicians is the way you do business - if you don't like it, vote 3rd party - because *any* third party - be them conservative libertarians or reform party members or liberal greens or communist commies are going to clean the stench of corporate controlled politicians.
  • by secolactico (519805) * on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:47AM (#10263226) Journal
    As far as I am concerned, he is an unethical shmuck who bears principal responsibility for the suicide of Gary Kildall. Search on "Gary Kildall" if you do not know who he is.

    I had no idea as to who Gary Kildall was. I did a quick search and found out. The cause of death is not clear tho, but nowhere it says it was suicide.

    Now, I believe you have your reasons to blame Gates for Kildall's death, but in my own humble opinion, nobody is responsible for someone else's suicide. If you take the decision to kill yourself, no external factor is to blame.

    As for "honoring" him by naming the building after him, well, he is paying for it. If the donation comes with strings attached and Stanford doesn't like it, they can always turn him down.

    He might be a college dropout with little knowledge of CS, but he *is* doing something for the field: he is donating resources, just like the person who doesn't know anything about medicine, but donates money for a new hospital wing, or simply gives blood. You contribute with what you can.

    (yes, I know Gates isn't probably doing it out of the goodness of his heart... he is getting publicity for it, but does it really matters so long as the job gets done?)
  • by Moridineas (213502) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:47AM (#10263227) Journal
    You can hate on Gates all you want, as is your right, but to simply describe him as "a college dropout with little knowledge of computer science" is not exactly right. He was in fact a very talented coder in his day--I know this isn't the same as a computer scientist, but quite frankly id rather be a coder any day of the tweek.

    I guess the tought of a top CS building being named for the top software companies top employee doesn't really rankle me that much.

  • by Bull999999 (652264) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:48AM (#10263243) Journal
    I'm not a Gates fan but him donating money, even for PR reasons, helps more than a bunch of geeks who bitches that more needs to be done for the poor, yet blows all their discretionary on toys.
  • Re:Poor Bill (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SendBot (29932) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:57AM (#10263273) Homepage Journal
    Actually, the real problem with AIDS relief is that patents make the pharmacudical industry a profiteering venture, to the point of disallowing affordable alternatives to such a degree that the Gates Foundation's donations would amount to a few drops in the bucket compared to the savings that a true free market would allow.

    The kicker is that BillG is a proponent of the situation that puts AIDS care out of reach for millions so that pharmacudical companies can maintain their profits from disabling fair competition. This is a complete exploitation of the necessity for AIDS treatment made possible by our wonderful patent system.

    You can read more about all this here:
    http://www.globalissues.org/EnvIssues/Population/A IDS.asp [globalissues.org]
  • Re:Poor Bill (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bishop666 (798467) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:59AM (#10263278)
    Put things in perspective. Considering his net worth it's like comparing a person worth 30 grand giving $10 to charity. The charity wouldn't be likely to name a building after you and trust me you'd miss the ten dollars more than Gates will miss the twenty mill. Before his recent Philanthropy he gave away the smallest percentage of his income of any of the top one hundred. It was only after this was pointed out to him that he saw the light. It's more PR than charity.
  • by Bull999999 (652264) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @01:02AM (#10263294) Journal
    I can't stand people who bash Bill and his foundation. Sure bash Microsoft if you must, but why the foundation?

    It's probably because he makes most of people here look bad with his charity work. You always see posts on slashdot about helping the poor and promoting open source software but how many slashdotters actually put their money where their mouth is?

    I'll most likely get flamed by slashdotters who will complain that they never have any money left over to donate, yet somehow find ways to pay for their high speed internet connection, cell phones, ultra fast computers, games, and other useless toys.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 16, 2004 @01:04AM (#10263303)
    Quite impressive numbers you have here...

    But do these numbers represent hard cold cash, (and NOT 1B of Microsoft software)? And, if it is cash, then is spending tied by any chance to purchase of industry standard software made by a certain company in Redmond?

    This is not unheard of: e.g
    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1996 /Nov9 6/ladonpr.asp
    (1.1M donation to be spent on PCs and software)
  • by Fringex (711655) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @01:06AM (#10263319)
    Bill Gates has given a load of cash away in one year. That is alot of money. More importantly he gave it to organizations that save peoples lives not to plant foundations or animal rights groups. The money he has given has saved probably thousands of lives. Regardless of how you feel about his business tactics, his history is far more saintly than any drug dealer is mentioned in replies. You cannot compare how he runs a business to an individual who deliberately gives people chemicals that literally destroy both mind and body. I am not saying I am thrilled about how he has run Microsoft from beginning to present, but what he has done is far less evil than the compared scum of the earth. Think how you want, but it is a twisted reality. I commend the man for what he has given, because he didn't have too. No one twisted his arm. Taxes are a flash in the pan compared to his billions. For once can't someone who is anti-microsoft just clap you hands for some good they do.
  • by saden1 (581102) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @01:13AM (#10263334)
    No, his point is computer science buildings should be named after men who given computer science more than they have taken from it. Men who did the research to advance the field. While I admire Bill Gates for his charitable work, I don't think he himself has contributed much to the field of computer science. If the building was for a Business School, by all means name him after Bill Gates.
  • Re:Oh come ON! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by javiercero (518708) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @01:38AM (#10263449)
    A lot of drug king pins in Colombia do a helluva charitable work actually, some are almost revered as heros. If you ignore how they got the money to begin with, then yeah... they are great people. It is how they got the money they are using to do charitable work that is the issue.
  • Re:Blue (Score:1, Insightful)

    by DirePickle (796986) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @01:41AM (#10263460)
    Yes, I believe that was the joke. Congratulations. ;)
  • by Dirtside (91468) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @01:43AM (#10263468) Journal
    If you take the decision to kill yourself, no external factor is to blame.
    Not that this is what happened with Gates and Kildall, but if I were to (for example) manipulate a person's life so as to get them fired from their job, bury them under a mountain of debt, cause problems with his marriage, and generally make his life a living hell, and then he committed suicide, you don't think I would bear ANY of the responsibility for it? I certainly do. And lesser actions of mine would similarly bear a smaller, but nonzero, responsibility.

    Saying that external factors cannot affect a person's decision to commit suicide doesn't seem reasonable. It's the same as saying that external factors cannot affect us at all, for any reason. Even if I did the evil things above, I certainly wouldn't be entirely to blame for his suicide (after all, he pulled the trigger, or took the pill, leapt off the bridge, whatever), but if I set up circumstances to the point where he felt like he had no way out, I would be at least partly culpable, by any reasonable moral standard. (I don't know if I could be held legally liable, in a criminal sense, although I probably could be successfully sued in civil court for wrongful death, or somesuch, assuming that his family could provide evidence).

    I don't think that responsibility is always (or even usually) as simple as "one person is completely responsible for this." If a person commits a crime, and if external circumstances can affect that, then that person is still ultimately responsible, but it doesn't mean that we should relieve him of any responsibility and let him off scot-free, NOR does it mean that we should blame him entirely and not take a hard look at what society is doing that might encourage him to be criminal.

    This really is getting off-topic; maybe I'll write a journal entry about it.

  • by GileadGreene (539584) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @01:46AM (#10263477) Homepage
    Uh... hate to break it to you, but most campuses name buildings after whoever fronts the cash, not after anyone "inspiring". I find it particularly ironic that this interchange was sparked as a result of discussions at Stanford, which is named for Leland Stanford: not an academic luminary, but a man who made a lot of money in railroads and used that moeny to endow a college.
  • Re:Poor Bill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xenna (37238) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @01:58AM (#10263513)
    I certainly would expect anyone giving out free plane tickets to Europe, Asia, Africa or any other exotic place would be mobbed similarly. I'm not one to pass up a free intercontinental flight myself, even if N. Korea would be handing them out.

    But you're probably implying they'd want to immigrate. In poor countries you probably have a point. In western Europe (where I live) the few US haters that I know (there aren't that many) would definitely not be interested in a green card.

    I wouldn't pass up on an opportunity to work and live in the US for a few years. I wish the western world would get together and make this kind of exchange (both ways) a lot easier, would be good for everyone. It would also promote a little more mutual understanding, which, reading this subthread, seems badly needed.
  • Re:Rude? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by morganjharvey (638479) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @02:14AM (#10263562)
    But this money isn't from Bill Gates himself -- it's from the Bill and Melinda Foundation. While I'm sure that Billy there gives them quite a chunk of coin every so often, that money is often invested and allowed to expand. I guess the true question would be how much money does the foundation have?

    I think that the foundation has done a lot of things that are absolutely great (I'm told my local YWCA wrote a letter asking for assistance in building a new wing and remodelling and received a very sizeable check very shortly afterwards, very few questions asked) and I don't know why anybody would grouse about genuine philanthropy. It's very hard to say that he set up the foundation to create some sort of tax loophole given the fact that he has told the press (right about the time of Bush's tax cuts...) that he thinks the rich should pay _more_ in taxes (too lazy to look up a link -- do it yourself). The man literally has so much money that he doesn't know what to do with it. I'd rather that it comes out in the form of donations than being holed up in some bank account somewhere.

    And plus, if this were a marketing ploy, why not just have Microsoft donate the money?

    Just my two cents...
    -mo
  • Re:What the hell? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by The MESMERIC (766636) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @03:02AM (#10263709) Homepage
    dont be naive or stupid
    I remember the time when Mr Billy was the only mega-corp billionaire that never donated a thing to charity.
    I kept repeating that again and again in forums. Then maybe their marketting team listened. And then started first donating Winblows "software" to school (great marketting).
    MS software is ludicrously expensive to purchase in the 3rd world. No wonder they are all going linux.
    And donating money to America's AIDS research. Wow how generous. AIDS treatment drugs are too ridiculously expensive to the 3rd world - despite being cheap to produce. Let's put a price on death shall we? So no wonder countries like Brazil are producing cheaper clones (instead of $99 per pill you have $0.99!).
    So don't be such down right thick, there are people who are rich and succesfull philantropist [woopidoo.com] - who don't get villified as such.
    If someone is shady - the truth will show. Come on we live in the 21sth century. All false heroes will be exposed.

    For me naivity of people the worse evil of all. It made Hitler powerful.
  • by omahajim (723760) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @03:13AM (#10263745)
    Bill Gates is the John D. Rockerfeller of his day.

    Slashdot needs to revise the moderation system to allow scores higher than 5. Too large a number of the 5:Funny or 5:Interesting posts are not nearly as deserved of their scores as the parent above are. There truly needs to be a next level, above the simply cutesy posts.

  • by CGP314 (672613) <CGP&ColinGregoryPalmer,net> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @03:24AM (#10263769) Homepage
    Might I direct you here: Bill Gates: Killing Africans for Profit and P.R., by Greg Palast [gregpalast.com]

    The short summary is he cost them more because of IP laws than he gave back.

    -Colin [colingregorypalmer.net]
  • by SilentChris (452960) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:18AM (#10263930) Homepage
    "So he is giving a tiny percentage of the money he made using the most slimy and despicable methods known to mankind."

    Uh, I'd put drug dealing and stringing my enemies up by their balls (physically, not a metaphor) as the most despicable methods known to mankind.

    Gates is a businessman. A total pain in the ass, but still a businessman. I could see if the guy truly did immoral stuff (like kill thousands of people) to get his money, but he just ran a (monopolistic) business. You have an incredible crude sense of proportion.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:21AM (#10263938)
    At last, somone with a brain and intact moral centre posting in this topic.

    The American religion is ca$h, and it is sickening and revolting to see how many people say "If you pay for it your neame goes there". None of them understand merit, none of them understand what bestowing an honor means - they are base, money worshipping people, and it is this same ideology that fueles the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    It is really disheartening to read those words from people who are otherwise capabable of understanding things that are very complex. It implies that no matter how smart you are, you can still be as thick as shit when it comes to ethics. This is not right, since ethics are built on logical constructs, so geeks on the whole should really be more ethical than ordinary folk.

    Turns out they are just as dumb.
  • Re:Before you ask (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Arial Sharon, 10pt. (784486) <arialsharon@fastmail.fm> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:35AM (#10263972)
    What the fuck are you talking about? My Windows XP workstation has at least a month of uptime. I have Visual fucking Studio sessions that have been running for far, far longer than two days.
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:47AM (#10264003) Homepage Journal
    "Yep - there's no denying the fact that microsoft's only strong suit has been marketing - the products ALWAYS suck"

    Maybe Windows 'sucked', but at least it sucked in such a way that millions of non-computer geeks were able to pick it up and use it comfortably. Is it so hard to acknowledge the idea that Microsoft's focus on the end user experience actually had something to do with their success?
  • by pjbass (144318) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:56AM (#10264030) Homepage
    As much as I am a Linux/open-source advocate, and do not like how Microsoft does its business today, I have a few things to point out about Microsoft and Bill Gates.

    1. How much of KDE and Gnome (now be honest) and any other "popular" window manager for X is trying to mimick the better parts of MS Windows (the only way to take the market is to emulate it, and make it work better)?
    2. Gates and Microsoft, as much as people don't want to admit, drove the PC into the mainstream use for end-user consumers. Microsoft followed others such as DEC, Sun, etc., and had something that ran on hardware of the day for academic and commercial reasons, and then took a leap (albeit Apple was already there in small representation, and Xerox just didn't market their workstation as effectively as MS did), and voila! They made a new market of people who found the usefulness of a computer at home.
    3. Being an avid gamer (in my copious amounts of spare time *grin*), I need to ask this question. Since Bill Gates didn't complete college, you're saying he doesn't know much about computer science, and therefore he really can't contribute to the field. Take John Carmack, as an example. He dropped out of college after 2 semesters. He is the person that video card manufacturers worship in the hopes he uses their architecture to pioneer the next-generation of gaming. Is he someone you'd also consider not contributing to the advance of the computer science world?

    If anything, Gates drove a company that put computer science on the map. There were many before him, and MANY after him, but he really can be credited to be behind the machine that made PC's mainstream. Please put your personal bias aside when posting about things like this. I'm sure if Carmack were to donate money to a college to buy a building, people would think that would just be damn cool, not a hypocrisy to computer science.
  • by geordie_loz (624942) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @05:01AM (#10264040) Homepage
    Most of the money will go on the Windows licenses, so Microsoft will get the money back soon enough.

    This sort of circular stuff could be a good way to launder money ;).
  • huh?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Simon (815) <(simon) (at) (simonzone.com)> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @06:14AM (#10264193) Homepage
    2. Gates and Microsoft, as much as people don't want to admit, drove the PC into the mainstream use for end-user consumers. Microsoft followed others such as DEC, Sun, etc., and had something that ran on hardware of the day for academic and commercial reasons, and then took a leap (albeit Apple was already there in small representation, and Xerox just didn't market their workstation as effectively as MS did), and voila! They made a new market of people who found the usefulness of a computer at home.
    oh! come on! I'm not quite 30 and I can still remember the 80s well enough to know that that is not how it happened. IBM, the clone manufacturers and applications like Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect are what drove the success of the PC in the 80s, it certainly wasn't MSDOS. Even in the 90s we see that WWW, email and the internet pushed the PC even further into the mainstream. It is IBM's orignal screw up with the licensing of MSDOS that bootstrapped Microsoft's rise to where it is now.

    --
    Simon

  • by jeif1k (809151) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @06:57AM (#10264303)
    If that's what he meant, maybe he should have said that instead.

    The meaning of his statement seemed clear enough to me. But, then, mathematics professors assume a certain minimal degree of intelligence on the part of their audience. As you demonstrate, that requirement isn't necessarily satisfied by everyone in their audience.

    Why, because an unknown mathematician and an anonymous coward say so?

    He was restating an idea expressed by someone else. It is up to you to make up your mind whether you agree with that idea.

    Yes, difficult as that may be to believe, even you yourself have the potential for independent thought; try exercising it for a change.
  • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @07:06AM (#10264321) Homepage
    If anything, Gates drove a company that...
    Bill Gates certainly has a large fan base among some subcultures, and has rightly earned a reputation as a clever (and perhaps unscrupulous) business man. However, let's not get into creating revisionist versions of history.

    Apple ][ plus VisiCalc and, later, IBM plus Lotus 1-2-3 got microcomputers onto every desktop.

    Personally I would find it appropriate for a business school to have a Gates building, but as much damage as Bill has done to the entire computing industry and even computing science, I'd have to say the name of the building is entirely inappropriate. He and his company have caused (and are still causing) far too much damage to computer science and to the economy.

    Better to name it after someone or something else. What's next the Osama Bin Laden building for Womens Studies?

  • by vena (318873) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @07:30AM (#10264407)
    i think you're a bit off on the charitable work part yourself - or at least a bit too cynical. Gates has been giving away money since he got it to a laundry list of charitable causes, including his own. that his contributions have grown since the antitrust battle began is of little consequence - the wealth from which this charity comes has grown with it. last year he and his wife gave away more than half of their entire net worth; just over 23 billion dollars went to charity. last month, he gave away the entirety of his $3 billion share of the $75 billion shareholder payout.

    i think there's a point where you have to really look past the cynical fog and think, you know, he probably could have stopped at a couple billion if he just wanted the brownie points.
  • Re:Oh come ON! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 16, 2004 @07:57AM (#10264507)
    Why can't you guys take it in good spirit???

    Didn't you see the jokes?

    The Belinda gates Foundation has started many, many projects for AIDS in africa and India, projects which have nothihng to do with capturing market share, or Windows (tm). Hundreds of lives have been saved, thousands have benefitted through his fundings of their education, etc.

    I listened to Gates talk once (PBS I think) about the work the foundation does. A focus area is preventable childhood diseases in the third world. What he doesn't consider is now that the lives of all these children have been saved, what kind of life are they going to lead? He doesn't talk about providing potable water for the millions of lives saved. Is it moral to save a life so it can suffer a more horrible death? Don't even think that I'm saying that those children shouldn't be saved. I'm saying that Bill's actions are at best short-sighted.

    his ruthlesness is only in his business and does NOT extent to real world.

    But what he does extends into the real world. He controls a company that has been found guilty of illegal actions. What he does well, is market (via any means) crappy software.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 16, 2004 @08:45AM (#10264818)
    perhaps a donation to the FSF would clear the cynical fog ;-)

    i dunno, i'm pretty sure the world is better off with him putting all of the money into social charities that deal with famine and disease than free software.
  • by abb3w (696381) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:50AM (#10265434) Journal
    Microsoft presentation is standing-room only.
    Reminds me of the crusty old Republican grandpa that attended all the Democrat conventions. His reason? "Just ta keep ma disgust afresh"
    Keep your freinds close, and your enemies closer.

  • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @10:05AM (#10265641)
    Columbus didn't build the ships or man the sails or oars. He just acquired the funding and led the expeditions. He has an entire holiday named after him.

    Bill Gates does a similar job. By just about everyone's recconing, he points Microsoft in the direction he thinks it should go and the people under him make it happen. That's leadership. For that reason, and the fact that Windows is in use on 80%-90% + or the worlds personal computers, he absolutely deserves credit as one of the most influential information technology leaders ever.

    Put another way, if he gets blamed for Windows problems without having coded them, shouldn't he also get credit for it's successes?

    TW

Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell

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