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Microsoft

Bill Gates Interview w/ Spiegel 376

DaVinciXL writes "Bill Gates just gave the German magazine "Spiegel" an interview which can be read (in English) on the magazine's website. Gates speaks about issues of computer security, competition, software bundling and how he lives with the downsides of his wealth and fame." He does a pretty good job of answering a lot of hard questions.
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Bill Gates Interview w/ Spiegel

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  • But (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:01PM (#11590208)
    Why are half of the questions about David Hasselhoff? "What version of Windows does David Hasselhoff use?" "Has Microsoft considered employing David Hasselhoff for ads?"
  • by jardin ( 778043 ) *
    SPIEGEL: When one puts the sentence "Bill Gates is the devil" into the Internet search engine Google, one gets thousands of hits. Does this bother you?

    Gates: I have never searched for such a sentence. Plus: if you understand the search engine properly, it doesn't mean that you will find exactly this sentence on these pages.


    If you understand the search engine properly, it does mean that you will find exactly this sentence on these pages.
  • Respect (Score:5, Funny)

    by EpsCylonB ( 307640 ) <eps@@@epscylonb...com> on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:04PM (#11590227) Homepage
    He does a pretty good job of answering a lot of hard questions.

    Thats quite a brave comment to make on /.
  • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) * on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:04PM (#11590228) Homepage Journal
    I can't imagine that there is too much of anything that does bother him; least of all search engine trivia.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I often wondered how people who make claims like "Let's kill Bill Gates.", which is actually very close to one slashdotter's sig, can be so ... I'm not even sure what the word for it is. But I figured that if I were Bill and I saw that sig then I would be a little bit bothered by it. I mean, to wish the death of someone is a very strong emotion, and even made in jest, I wouldn't want my 8 year old daughter to see people speaking of their father in such a way.

      The point being, for all the riches that one ma

      • Okay, that's it; you die now.

        In all seriousness though, why should it hurt him? The majority of the "Gates is the Devil" things assume his motive is to get richer. Assuming that isn't true (and let's face it, he's smart enough to realise how much he already has), why should he care? He can't possibly convince people that he isn't in it for the money, especially since the ones he tries to convince will be the least likely to listen. He can either get upset because people don't understand him, or ignore them
        • Hitler's reasoning was based on the false assumption that blonde hair and blue eyes are superior

          Ah crap, that's false? I guess I can stop dying my hair and wearing contacts now. What a waste.
        • He can't possibly convince people that he isn't in it for the money

          Well, he certainly isn't in it because he likes making good software. Haha. No, Bill Gates got where he is through several decades of continuous highly unethical behaviour, and people don't disrespect him "because he is rich" but because of his unethical behavious. In fact, just to prove that people don't inherently disrespect rich people: in South Africa we have a self-made billionaire, Mark Shuttleworth, who, after making billions, now s

    • by RonnyJ ( 651856 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:35PM (#11590460)
      Judging from his contributions to charity, it appears that things like poverty do bother him.
      • Judging from his contributions to charity, it appears that things like poverty do bother him.

        I don't know if poverty bothers him or not, but I do know that in USA there is huge tax incentives for "charity".

        • People constantly respond to "[supposed bad person] gives lots of money to charity" with "Yeah, but there's a huge tax incentive for that."

          It's like saying "He's only buying food for starving children because the food is on sale; he's not doing it to help them." He's putting money to a worthy cause, and the system is set up so that money is used more efficiently. But in the end he has paid some amount money that would otherwise be his to a charity, and he has less money. That is good.

          (The way I understand it, say you have a million dollars, you might pay half a million in taxes. If you give that million dollars to charity, you pay no tax on it. So by not donating, you're out half a million. By donating, you're out a million. So you could say that he's not paying a million dollars, only $500,000. But he is still losing money on the deal.

          If I'm missing anything, please correct me. Why might a totally selfish person give to charity, aside from the roundabout social benefits of being seen as nice, which apply whether the money is taxed or not?)
  • by chris09876 ( 643289 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:05PM (#11590240)
    The speed with which, for example, the Linux community reacts to problems is not especially high -- that's because this system, unlike ours, simply does not keep thousands of people on standby to deal with problems.

    Apparently Gates is convinced that Microsoft can fix bugs much faster than Linux, simply because they have more poeple on staff. Clearly there are a number of flaws in that argument... not only do they try and hide and ignore as many bugs as possible, but anyone can look for, identify, and even fix bugs in an open operating system. Gah!
    • Apparently Gates is convinced that Microsoft can fix bugs much faster than Linux, simply because they have more poeple on staff.

      Perhaps he should take another glance at Brooks' The Mythical Man Month [amazon.co.uk].
    • Clearly one flaw in the argument is... they don't. It's an incorrect statement, and MS is known to be HORRENDOUSLY slow in counteracting vulnerabilities.

      In another state-the-opposite-to-truth (is that a lie?), from the interview:
      ----
      Spiegel: ...your small competitor Apple, for example, is much less frequently a victim of virus attacks ...

      Gates: ... put so sweepingly, that is not correct. Of course we are the largest target, simply because we have the most widely disseminated system. But it affects othe
    • That remark caught my eye as well but you'd have to consider fixing the problem and distributing the fix are two different things. Just committing a change in cvs is not a good solution when you have hundreds of millions of people who need it. You need to properly test the patch and then when you are absolutely certain the patch won't break anything, you need to distribute it to all your customers. Ms gets this right most of the time but sadly it usually takes them a few months.

      With linux, you can pull the
    • The speed with which, for example, the Linux community reacts to problems is not especially high -- that's because this system, unlike ours, simply does not keep thousands of people on standby to deal with problems.

      Gosh that's true, Bill. The Linux system actually keeps millions of people on standby to deal with problems.
  • enthusiasm (Score:3, Funny)

    by accelleron ( 790268 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:07PM (#11590248)
    ...The enthusiasm about how computers, the Internet, and good software can help people...

    Am I the only one bothered by that phrase?
  • Gates: Simply because one must spend billions of dollars to ensure the security of each individual system.

    Each individual system running GNU/Linux ??

    CC.
  • by daviddennis ( 10926 ) <david@amazing.com> on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:09PM (#11590273) Homepage
    These simply don't sound true to me:

    -----
    Gates: The truth is: the fewer operating systems there are within a company, the better it is from a security point of view.

    SPIEGEL: I beg your pardon?

    Gates: Simply because one must spend billions of dollars to ensure the security of each individual system. Our company has an unbelievable number of people who are solely responsible for this type of security around the clock.

    SPIEGEL: The particular charm of Linux is that it is an adaptable system that users can shape themselves.

    Gates: If everything runs under the same platform, however, you can better concentrate resources and more quickly repair errors. For instance, in a hospital where different systems are used, a single problem in one section cause the other systems to crash. Thus, from a security standpoint it is always better to focus on one system.

    SPIEGEL: But your small competitor Apple, for example, is much less frequently a victim of virus attacks ...

    Gates: ... put so sweepingly, that is not correct. Of course we are the largest target, simply because we have the most widely disseminated system. But it affects others in exactly the same way. Linux is, in many respects, even more significantly affected.

    SPIEGEL: In a few hours a Windows virus can travel across the world like an epidemic...

    Gates: ... above all because of our global popularity. But we know that. And we must apply still more time and money to it. However, spam or data theft are not questions of the operating system. For this, you also need laws and global standards.

    SPIEGEL: Once again: Windows is the most vulnerable.

    Gates: You could look at that in many ways. The speed with which, for example, the Linux community reacts to problems is not especially high -- that's because this system, unlike ours, simply does not keep thousands of people on standby to deal with problems. In this respect, a commercially distributed operating system also has decisive benefits. Sweeping judgments don't help because we all have to take the problems seriously. Even Linux developers know that there is no miracle cure in Linuxland. They, too, must continue to work and continue to make progress.
    ---

    (Then the interview proceeds to other topics).

    I thought this was interesting because, as far as I can tell, all I need to do in order to keep my Macintosh functioning securely is to make sure software update is on, and that at a time convenient to me I run it and update my system.

    Windows patches are so frequent and their consequences so probematical that I can see a reason to keep legions of people around to fix them. But I've never had trouble with my Mac's security updates (knock on aluminum).

    As far as I know there are no virii or spyware programs currently running on MacOS X. Perhaps someone could correct me if I'm wrong, but surely that enormously reduces the problem and therefore the amount of maintenance needed.

    If computer A requires little maintenance and computer B requires lots, it seems to me that reducing the numbers of computer B you have and increasing computer A is the best way to deal with the problem.

    Okay, flame away, both at Mr Gates and myself :-).

    D

    • I really like the thing where he says the Linux community responds at a speed which is not especially high. Nine times out of ten when I look at securityfocus on the day of a vulnerability's discovery, the majority of Linux distributions already have a patch and all you have to do is go through your usual update procedure. Windows vulnerabilities are patched when I see the vulnerability maybe half the time. I look at securityfocus maybe two or three times a week, because I'm waiting on some file copy or som
    • by NonSequor ( 230139 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:48PM (#11590548) Journal
      There is some truth in some of what he says.

      It's worth noting that an aircraft with multiple engines is more likely to have some sort of engine failure than an aircraft with one engine of similar design. In general, increasing the number of components in a system increases the chance that at some point one of the components will fail.

      Basically if you put your eggs in several different baskets the number of eggs you can expect to lose will be greater than the number of eggs you can expect to lose by putting them in a single well designed basket.

      However, putting your eggs in one basket means that any failure is a total failure, even if it is unlikely. Systems with redundancies can be designed so that the chance of an absolute failure is unlikely and so that the damage of partial failures can be limited (i.e. a plane with multiple engines can be designed to still be able to land safely with some of its engines damaged). This is the reason that many people advocate against a so-called monoculture. There aren't any general purpose operating systems with adequate features that we are good enough to be our single basket. Gates thinks that Windows is good enough to be this single basket though there are many who disagree with him.

      • It's worth noting that an aircraft with multiple engines is more likely to have some sort of engine failure than an aircraft with one engine of similar design.


        This is completely true from a hardware/mechanical point of view. However, software is much more organic than that. And not only that but Gates' responses are so telling of a flawed approach to what makes secure and therefore cost-effective software. Everyone at Microsoft will tell you their way is best. And even Gates' says there are thousands of
      • Problem is, you never have exactly the same system across any organization, no matter how small.

        Consider a medical situation (like the one Gates was using) -- yes, if you standardize on a scalpal, you only need to train everyone to wash and sharpen a scalpal, and anyone can use anyone else's scalpal, clean it, etc. Hell, you can even have just one dedicated cleaning/sharpening/replacing guy.

        However, a scalpal might not be the tool for the job. You don't want the dentist to use a scapal to clean your tee
    • Gates: If everything runs under the same platform, however, you can better concentrate resources and more quickly repair errors.

      I've admin'ed hybrid networks (Windows and Linux) and I've spent a whole lot more time and effort keeping Windows working and secured than Linux.

      It's true that all platforms have security problems and need frequent updates. This will not change until all developers start taking security seriously and using secure-by-design coding practices. In the meantime, I have found Linux
  • His stock answer to every fucking question vis a vis security and alternative platforms is that Windows is more targeted because it is more popular, and that is pure bullshit. Apache being used more than IIs and yet being more secure proved that one false fucking years ago, and no one thinks about actually mailing the interviewers and giving them the facts, so that, next time they interview BIllG, they can ask real questions.

    Apart form that what was so fucking difficult about those questions, Taco? Just be
    • Calm down (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bonch ( 38532 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @02:12PM (#11590720)
      Okay, first off, you don't do your position any good to say "fuck" an average of 2.5 per sentence. It makes you look like the rabid Linux fanboy that Gates stereotypes in his interviews.

      Second, there have been plenty of security vulnerabilities involving Apache, and in fact, some studies have shown Apache to be less secure in some circumstances. Either way, both IIS and Apache can easily be configured to be secure if you keep up with patches and lock down your server like any admin should.

      Third, he was being asked about desktop attacks, not server attacks. In that context, he is 100% correct that Windows gets attacked more because it is on top. "Global popularity," as he put it. With the recent spate of vulnerabilitiles, would you really feel comfortable giving Mozilla the 95% or so marketshare that IE has if you could snap your fingers and have it happen? One could argue that Windows and IE are much more rigorously tested, and therefore much better vetted for vulnerabilities, than Linux and Mozilla.

      Either way, he's absolutely right that Windows is more targetted because it is more popular. I don't see how you can even dispute that, even if you think it is "pure bullshit." Windows is more popular than Linux. If Linux was the top dog, I imagine hackers would be wringing their hands in delight at the problematic 2.6 kernel line we've been having. Nothing is perfect, even your beloved OS. In fact, to pretend that you're flawless while the competition is a failure is to cause yourself to fail due to lack of perspective. Gates is right on this one.
  • Wait... (Score:3, Funny)

    by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:11PM (#11590281)
    Am I going to be able to order Windows from my Spiegel catelogue?
  • by realmolo ( 574068 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:12PM (#11590292)
    He's terrible at them. He always comes of as a conceited little nerd. Which he is.

    Just once, I'd like someone from Microsoft actually defend themselves in the press. They never really do. They just deny that anything is wrong, and then start spewing marketing bullshit. Which, more than anything, makes people distrust them.

    They're just bad at PR. Great at marketing, bad at PR.

    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:50PM (#11590567)
      #1. There isn't any problem.

      #2. There really isn't any problem.

      #3. Well, there is kind of a problem, but it's the same problem that everyone has.

      #4. It just looks that way because we're the biggest.

      #5. Everyone gets spam.

      #6. The alternatives would cost you more.

      #7. Innovation. We've got it, they don't.

      #8. We have more people paid to deal with that.

      #9. They don't have the features we do.

      #10. Lawsuits! Did I scare you?

      Whenever you're asked a question that isn't disguised praise, all you have to do is reply with one of the above phrases. It doesn't matter which one.

      In a recent interview, Bill Himself told the interviewer "Simply because one must spend billions of dollars to ensure the security of each individual system."

      Remember, we will never send you into an interview where the other person knows enough about technology to call you on ANY lie you feel like telling.
    • Bad MS PR (Score:5, Funny)

      by disserto ( 817046 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @03:55PM (#11591379)
      I used to date a woman who did PR and marketing for MS, so you can imagine we had some in-depth and sometimes heated discussions about MS vs. Linux and Macs.

      Well, one day we were going hiking, and she presented me with a really nice backback. The only issue with it was that it had the MS logo emblazoned all over it. Of course, she knew I wouldn't refuse it.

      Anyway, she said to me, "Isn't that nice? See? What'd RedHat ever give you for free?"

      I replied, "An operating system."

      That was one long, quiet hike.
  • by jxyama ( 821091 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:15PM (#11590312)
    marketing speak and aren't always 100% "correct." however, there's some "substance" to it because he is *heard* and his opinions/ideas/thoughts are *valued* and *sought after* by others.

    it's like the blog madness - most of them aren't worth crap, in terms of content. but if you can command an audience, even if the contents are crap, it's "worth" something...arguably worth "more" than other blogs with better contents but no audience.

    i'm not saying open source has no voice. rather, i'm saying that just because what he says isn't all correct, doesn't mean what he says is worthless. he does command some "worth" just because people listen to what he has to say.

  • QUOTE "I founded Microsoft together with Paul Allen because the capabilities and possibilities of computers back then frustrated us."

    Sounds familiar doesn't it?

  • "He does a pretty good job of answering a lot of hard questions."

    no, like a small child in an exam or a politician, he answers the question he wants to answer rather than the question he is actually asked.

    whether this is because he's a small child (ignorant) or a politian (scared of telling the truth) is left as an exercise for the reader.
  • On Security. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bug-Y2K ( 126658 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:23PM (#11590363) Homepage
    Gates: The truth is: the fewer operating systems there are within a company, the better it is from a security point of view.

    SPIEGEL: I beg your pardon?

    Gates: Simply because one must spend billions of dollars to ensure the security of each individual system. Our company has an unbelievable number of people who are solely responsible for this type of security around the clock.

    Oh my. Bill need to check his logic on that one. His answer basically refutes his original statement. He should try switching to another OS, and have something to compare before he makes statements like that! How many MacOS X security people does Microsoft employ? We know they use that platform.

    I manage a network that is a mix of Linux, FreeBSD, Windows & Macintosh (both "classic" MacOS & OS X)... I can tell you that 90+% of our security issues are on Windows, and ~10% are on the Linux boxen. I only have a couple of "Windows Admins" but I am seriously considering adding more, because my guys are overworked ... mostly unhaxxoring Windows boxes. I told our CEO about it, and she did some math... the revenue we generate from Windows does not even equal the salary we pay our admins!

    The answer seems obvious to me, but unfortunately we can't just drop Windows support.

  • smeagol (Score:3, Funny)

    by ndunn ( 171784 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:27PM (#11590403)
    For some reason my mind read Smeagol, initially. Talk about being interviewed by your peers.
  • by DaPhoenix ( 318174 ) <rayb AT kod DOT net> on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:30PM (#11590428)
    "Even Linux developers know that there is no miracle cure in Linuxland."

    That lovable character GNU/Mouse, the rides like Kernel Mountain! The magestic Torvalds Castle! Oh My! I got the next boat on "Its a small patch after all!"

    That quote right there was worth reading the whole crappy article.
  • Again? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ogman ( 591131 )
    Yet another Bill Gates interview? I don't need interviews with Mr. Gates. All I need to do to know everything about him is watch how his company conducts business. How many times have we seen Microsoft do something questionable in it's dealings with customers/partners/developers/vendors over the years only to have Gates or Ballmer come out and say that they were "misunderstood" and they just need to make their position "clearer?" Actions speak far louder than words, and no amount of PR can cover a company'
  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:34PM (#11590455) Homepage
    Check out the picture of Gates which accompanies the article:

    http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,433427,00.jpg

    And the caption:

    The world's richest man says not all his wishes have been fulfilled.

    I'd strongly suspect that Unfulfilled Wish #1 was to have a good haircut or a flattering photograph taken of him. I've never seen one. Not even in Tiger Beat.
  • Does a good job? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by splatterboy ( 815820 )
    SPIEGEL: But your small competitor Apple, for example, is much less frequently a victim of virus attacks ...

    Gates: ... put so sweepingly, that is not correct.


    Gates:"I have also over years donated quite a bit to charitable causes. For this, I am quite admired."


    Does a good job dodging bullets and letting his hubris show is more like it... Less frequent but extant Mac virus attcks?

    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/g/a / 20 05/02/04/notes020405.DTL&type=printable

    why does windows suck? (/
  • Finally an interviewer who has the balls to ask the right questions.
  • Great Interview (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sophrosyne ( 630428 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:46PM (#11590537) Homepage
    Tons of difficult leading questions, and no ass-kissing.
    Do you think anyone in the American media would say: "I beg your pardon?" to some corporate rhetoric.
    I am glad that the interviewer didn't make it easy for Bill.
  • Actually when you look for it with quotes like that you DO find exactly that sentence on over 5,000 pages Bill. Yes I do think we understand how search engines work.

    -Don.
  • Try searching MSN and Google using the keywords and look at the number of results. Now.. thats superiority...
  • SPIEGEL: But your small competitor Apple, for example, is much less frequently a victim of virus attacks ...

    Gates: ... put so sweepingly, that is not correct. Of course we are the largest target, simply because we have the most widely disseminated system. But it affects others in exactly the same way. Linux is, in many respects, even more significantly affected.

    what was the question? did someone mentioned apple?
  • by OwlWhacker ( 758974 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @01:59PM (#11590621) Homepage Journal
    spam or data theft are not questions of the operating system. For this, you also need laws and global standards. - Gates

    Well, that's one good thing at least, Bill suggesting global standards as an answer.

    The speed with which, for example, the Linux community reacts to problems is not especially high. - Gates

    This is funny, I've seen plenty of news articles revealing Microsoft to be pushing aside security issues that it calls unimportant, but others claim to be serious.

    I can't recall seeing anything like this in the Open Source community.

    Microsoft continues to pack additional innovations onto the Windows platform at no cost, virtually annihilating competitors in the long-term. Why do you promote this strategy? - Spiegel

    we are forced to continuously improve our products - Gates

    Doesn't the above situation reveal that there is a problem in Microsoft's strategy?

    It's improving its core product by exclusively bundling its own middleware apps into the main Windows 'distribution'. This isn't innovatively improving the product, it's combining Microsoft products (to the disadvantage of Microsoft's competition) in order to get people to upgrade Windows.

    Nobody would expect Microsoft to add RealPlayer or Firefox to Windows, this would be giving the competition an advantage. So surely Microsoft's middleware should not have the advantage of being bundled with Windows?

    This also seems unfair to many people. So, why not have Windows distributions (which I've said many times), where select distributors following specific guidelines, can add middleware from competing companies?

    I am an optimist. And I always think: okay, in 10 years we will have accomplished it. But I already thought that 10 years ago. And obviously we are not yet that far. - Gates

    I believe WinFS (originally Cairo) was heralded years ago, and isn't here yet. This must be an example of Gates' optimism.
  • Interesting Tidbits (Score:2, Interesting)

    by akuma624 ( 690011 )
    Some interesting tidbits ...



    Gates: ... I worry more about whether our general dream will be fulfilled.

    SPIEGEL: What is that dream?

    Gates: That we can globally communicate with one another without mistrust and can do it more creatively. To do this, for example, it is important that your identity is safe on the Internet. In the end it involves a promise, the promise of the digital age. ...

    SPIEGEL: What is your most important goal for the coming years?

    Gates: We must ensure that the trust pla
  • It's not like Bill, the man behind MSFT to go in an interview and say "yeah, Linux distributors who are our competitors manage to update security updates faster than us that's the reality!" Make the company look good, that's all he did. Ridiculious for us, impressive for average joes.
  • by theantix ( 466036 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @02:15PM (#11590745) Journal
    Since when did avoidance and outright lying qualify as a "pretty good job"?

    SPIEGEL: When one puts the sentence "Bill Gates is the devil" into the Internet search engine Google, one gets thousands of hits. Does this bother you?


    Gates: I have never searched for such a sentence. Plus: if you understand the search engine properly, it doesn't mean that you will find exactly this sentence on these pages.

    When you put quotes around it, yes it does mean exactly that. Specifically, google returns the text Results 1 - 10 of about 5,290 for "Bill Gates is the devil", so I'd say his answer is full of shit.

    SPIEGEL: Once again: Windows is the most vulnerable.


    Gates: You could look at that in many ways. The speed with which, for example, the Linux community reacts to problems is not especially high -- that's because this system, unlike ours, simply does not keep thousands of people on standby to deal with problems. In this respect, a commercially distributed operating system also has decisive benefits. Sweeping judgments don't help because we all have to take the problems seriously. Even Linux developers know that there is no miracle cure in Linuxland. They, too, must continue to work and continue to make progress.

    First of all, vulnerabilities in the kernel and critical applications are patched quickly and all major distributions release updates very soon after a problem is released. Much better than the Windows track record for such vulnerabilies which can linger for months and patches are released on a schedule instead of shortly after they are posted.

    Second of all, "LinuxLand" uses a superior method of software installation that leaves it immune to the sorts of malware programs that plague windows users. Debian and Ubuntu use apt and synaptic, fedora and red hat use yum, Suse and NDL use red-carpet, Manrake uses urmpi, gentoo has portage, and Xandros and Linspire have their own systems too. All of these systems have something in common: you can easily install a wide range of software from your Linux distributer, and users do not need to install malware-ridden crap software of random websites. This is as close to a "miracle cure" as any Linux user needs to the sorts of problems that plague most Windows users.

    I could go on, but I won't.
  • blah blah (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tomstdenis ( 446163 ) <tomstdenis@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Sunday February 06, 2005 @02:17PM (#11590753) Homepage
    More one sided propatainment.

    Get Gates to interview Torvalds [and then vice versa] and that would be worth a read.

    Otherwise it's just more corporate MSFT-speak talking about "how exciting gee whiz golly!" computing is...

    Tom
  • Sneaky guy (Score:2, Informative)

    by Swedentom ( 670978 )
    Hah, I like the way Gates tries to avoid answering some questions by speaking around them...

    SPIEGEL: But your small competitor Apple, for example, is much less frequently a victim of virus attacks ...

    Gates: ... put so sweepingly, that is not correct. Of course we are the largest target, simply because we have the most widely disseminated system. But it affects others in exactly the same way. Linux is, in many respects, even more significantly affected.
  • AN OPEN LETTER TO HOBBYISTS
    By William Henry Gates III

    February 3, 1976

    An Open Letter to Hobbyists

    To me, the most critical thing in the hobby market right now is the lack of good software courses, books and software itself. Without good software and an owner who understands programming, a hobby computer is wasted. Will quality software be written for the hobby market?

    Almost a year ago, Paul Allen and myself, expecting the hobby market to expand, hired Monte Davidoff and developed Altair BASIC. Though the initial work took only two months, the three of us have spent most of the last year documenting, improving and adding features to BASIC. Now we have 4K, 8K, EXTENDED, ROM and DISK BASIC. The value of the computer time we have used exceeds $40,000.

    The feedback we have gotten from the hundreds of people who say they are using BASIC has all been positive. Two surprising things are apparent, however, 1) Most of these "users" never bought BASIC (less than 10% of all Altair owners have bought BASIC), and 2) The amount of royalties we have received from sales to hobbyists makes the time spent on Altair BASIC worth less than $2 an hour.

    Why is this? As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?

    Is this fair? One thing you don't do by stealing software is get back at MITS for some problem you may have had. MITS doesn't make money selling software. The royalty paid to us, the manual, the tape and the overhead make it a break-even operation. One thing you do do is prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free? The fact is, no one besides us has invested a lot of money in hobby software. We have written 6800 BASIC, and are writing 8080 APL and 6800 APL, but there is very little incentive to make this software available to hobbyists. Most directly, the thing you do is theft.

    What about the guys who re-sell Altair BASIC, aren't they making money on hobby software? Yes, but those who have been reported to us may lose in the end. They are the ones who give hobbyists a bad name, and should be kicked out of any club meeting they show up at.

    I would appreciate letters from any one who wants to pay up, or has a suggestion or comment. Just write to me at 1180 Alvarado SE, #114, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87108. Nothing would please me more than being able to hire ten programmers and deluge the hobby market with good software.

    Bill Gates

    General Partner, Micro-Soft

  • by defile ( 1059 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @03:20PM (#11591148) Homepage Journal

    He's being interviewed by a Joe Sixpack, but Gates's answers are meant to speak to a CTO.

    For a Joe Sixpack, Linux is more secure with faster security updates, etc. I read about a security hole and custom develop a patch for myself, instantly, or find someone else's patch. On Windows, I have to wait.

    The CTO rarely learns about security holes, he simply hears that Microsoft releases a patch, and that he needs to apply this patch to all of the computers in the company. With Windows Update, all of the workstations automatically update themselves. He's probably even suprised to see that updates are ready to fix a hole he's never heard of. All his IT staff has to do is go around and push OK for the users who ignore the box that asks if they want to apply the new updates. In his eyes, cost savings are high.

  • innovation? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sewagemaster ( 466124 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `retsamegawes'> on Sunday February 06, 2005 @03:40PM (#11591273) Homepage
    You need only look at what Microsoft Office or Windows could do 10 years ago and what these programs cost back then and what possibilities they offer today at what price. The costs are going down; the capabilities are increasing with tremendous speed.


    seriously though, there isnt a whole lot of changes between msword 97 and msword 2003. In fact, they've made things even harder to do with the newer version. They've actually *removed* quite a number of features in their office suites and made it harder to do things. Other stuff like exporting .eps figures in visio - quite necessary with latex documents. Why did they do that? I think the answer is pretty obvious.
  • Dutch Elm Disease (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Durango_44 ( 644517 ) on Sunday February 06, 2005 @04:10PM (#11591510)
    > SPIEGEL: The particular charm of Linux is that it is an adaptable system that users can shape themselves.

    Gates: If everything runs under the same platform, however, you can better concentrate resources and more quickly repair errors. For instance, in a hospital where different systems are used, a single problem in one section cause the other systems to crash. Thus, from a security standpoint it is always better to focus on one system. >

    Gates' statement to remain focused on a single system strikes me as false. In the biological world, diversity rules. A favorite example comes from my birthplace, Denver, Colorado, US; in the 1930's, a foresightful mayor pushed through a wonderful program to build parks everywhere in town. It was a wonderful success and added to the quality of life. But, the park planners chose to plant, in general, a single species of tree, the Dutch Elm. Beautiful, shady tree, quick grower, looked great. But 30 to 40 years later, from the 60's to the 70's, Dutch Elm disease wiped out a large percentage of the city's trees, because the virus spread easily from one tree to the next. The lesson was clear: the city replaced those trees with a broad variety of other species to guard against future viruses. I would think in a hospital, that a "single problem in one section [causing] the other systems to crash" is just false--it would do the opposite, if you are talking different OS's. Now, if you are talking a single, monolithic OS, well that's different...

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