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Gates: "Linux will have Limited Impact" 477

tomas writes ""Addressing an audience of information technology professionals in Houston, Gates said there was clearly a market for free software but this was mainly confined to relatively simple applications such as word processing and spreadsheets". Get the full story and read the full comments. Geez-someone wrap him in asbestos, methinks.
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Gates: "Linux will have Limited Impact"

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    If word processing and spreadsheets are so simple, why does Office 97 take 80MB?
  • and some dam common sense too. word processing and spreadsheets MY SPHINCTER! The whole dam internet, the VERY THING Gates is pushing his OS torwards, _THE_VERY_THING_ that Gates is putting ALL his money and resources into, is operating on "free software". How much of the net runs off apache, or sendmail, or the countless ftp daemons out there. If all this FREE software is so dam limited, why the hell is he investing so much into an industry based on free software?

    that m0r0n.

    i bet if you scanned all MS owned domains on the 'net, you'd find at least 50% running non-MS "Free" software.

    can't we just institutionalize him and forget MS existed?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You Linux geeks sure are missing the point. Look - Linux is fantastic on the server side, but it won't ever make inroads against Windows on the desktop. The reason for this isn't that Windows is better on the desktop than Linux is (although Windows is indeed better on the desktop) its that tens of thousands of commercial desktop applications exist for Windows and they simply do not exist for Linux. Linux makes a great webserver and a great database server, but if you are using Linux on the desktop you are a computer hobbyist - you are not part of the legitimate business world. Commercial software versus free? Free software is terrific, but other than a few very strong isolated examples (Linux, Apache, sendmail) there is little out there that is free that I would trust my business to run on. The idea of all free software is great but very unrealistic. Everything that has happened for free has been subsidized by your COMMERCIAL JOBS or your TAXPAID TUITION and COMPUTER LABS or your parents mortgages. Money is what is driving this fantastic internet culture of ours and it is silly to think that without Microsoft (or any number of other commercial companies) the same progress would be made. Look around you, Penguin boy - Free software didn't pay for the office you are in, the computer you are using, the communications infrastructure you use to get to Slashdot.org. Even Slashdot is subsidized by advertising by companies that are CHARGING MONEY FOR THE PRODUCTS THEY PROVIDE - and you buy it! Flame away, geeks!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ah, Mr. Gates, there you go again. Here is the deal, we all know that you're hoping some clueless IS "professional" reads your comments and has some ammo to reply to Linux fans in the bowls of the IT department.

    Good move, but the problem is, that those same IS people, pay your company many dollars for your "simple" wordproccessor and spreadsheet. Up to 40 some percent of MS revenue as a matter of fact. Even _they_ will see through the FUD you're spreading.

    Eventually, it is going to get more and more difficult to explain why a company should run NT Server, when Linux is cheaper and faster and more robust.

    The fact is people are fed up with your products and your company. The people will choose to go elsewhere. Companies like IBM, Intel, Compaq, Dell and others are fed up with your bullying, they will be glad to sink lost of money and resources into Linux, in answer to your comments.

    The sad thing is this: Many, many talented people have put you where you are, and built some amazing software along the way (we know that, and give you that) but... ultimately, you've sold them up the river.

    Never forget the AARD code! Microsoft, doesn't deserve the public trust -- as this latest FUD spreading from Mr. Gates shows.
  • True smart people will always be a minority. But computers are infiltraiting more and more homes every day. Everybody says Linux needs to be easier to use if its gonna compete with windows. The reason operating systems need to be easy for the mainstream user is due to the fact that Many people that use pc's and are buying pc's never grew up around pc's. The learning curve is much steeper for these kind of people. But slowly more and more kids that grew-up with pc's will be entering the work force and becoming pc consumers. These kids will have been playing with pc's since they were 5 years old. Formating a hard drive to them will not be much harder than dialing a phone or programming a VCR. Ask yourself this question?? How many of you when your parents or grandparents buy a new "gadget" like a vcr, camcorder, camera, pc etc. ask you to come over and show them how to run it. Also because of the increased knowledge kids of the future are going to have and have now, they aren't gonna put up with crap software and they're are gonna be plenty capable of installing and using a real OS.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, I think that this is a refreshing change of FUD. Now the next time some fool says that "Linux doesn't have a user-friendly GUI" I can respond by saying "Well, according to Bill Gates it has five different windowing systems..."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think it's unfortunate that people get the idea that free software is somehow written by "altruists". Free software is written by three types of people:
    1. People who do it for fun. They don't really care about what happens to the code, or at least they don't feel a need to exercise their god-given right to make money off every byte.
    2. People (in commercial environments!) who need to solve a real problem, usually by extending some _existing_ piece of free software, and have no interest in selling their extension, usually because it is in itself worthless.
    3. People with an a specific reason (political (FSF), fame, being paid (Redhat's programmers))
    Altruists don't code.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Have you seen the GIMP program?
    It's an EXTREMELY complicated and powerful image processing tool, some say better than photoshop (the leading commercial software in the field). The people in my company use GIMP when they need to do graphics work.

    I can see where your argument comes from, that most people will write commerical software instead of free software. The counter to this argument (and the reason I think programs like GIMP and the Linux kernel exist) is that people can "jump in" (well, maybe not with the kernel :), contribute a piece of code (or even and idea), and "jump out". While that one particular feature made will not make the program, it is a feature that is done and will not go away. Thousands of such contributions, and you have some real stuff going on. And since the code is free (or open or whatever), ANYONE can pick it up later. It doesn't get relegated to the dusty shelf of outdated binaries. Source code lives forever...

    Another counter, and one that I think is relatively new, is that now many companies are writing free software for name recognition. I work for a "big" company, and I am writing free software. Why? Because my company wants name recognition. After all, if people are going to use free software, mise well use our company's right? :)

    Well that's how the managers view it :). I'm just happy to be giving something back, because the value I've gotten out of Apache, Gimp, Linux, Sendmail, Fetchmail, X Windows, Emacs, Gcc have been incredible. If my program can be useful to one of the people that helped write those programs, I will be happy :)

    The Cowardly Lionymous
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is great!! First, M$ positioned Linux as just a hobbyist and educational market niche OS. Then, well, it doesn't have support. Then, hey, but there are no applications for it. Then, well, total cost of ownership is the same as NT. Now, it has the applications (by their own admission), but they're just WP and spreadsheet (which, apart from browsers and email apps) are the 99% case of what users use.

    Is it just me, or does it really appear that the room is mostly painted, with Bill, Ed "the Mouth" Muth, and Der Fürher Balmer (ever see him at a M$ pep rally? All he needs is that little mustache) continuing to paint the unpainted part, not realizing that the only place unpainted is that little corner that they're having to squeeze into.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "I ran into an old acquaintance on the Assessing Microsoft mailing list a week or so ago. It was just like the bad old days. When I had last seen Simon Cooke, he was acting as a Microsoft shill on the MSNBC Technology BBS. His manner and manner of deceit through false arguments reminded me a great deal of Richard Shupak and other MS shills I've run across in cyberspace.

    "Simon is English. When I had known him on MSNBC he said he had come to the USA for a job opportunity in DC and that it wasn't working out. He was hoping to get work with Microsoft and perhaps he thought that being the voice of Redmond on the MSNBC/Technology BBS would help. It may have. He now works for MS. But unfortunately he was also right about his current gig not working out. When they learned he had accepted a position with MS which was to start in three months, they fired him at once."

    "I am not one of those who is more patient with liars and shysters and disinformation specialists simply because they are polite. It doesn't make sense to me that so many people are. If an axe-murderer says "Excuse me" before delivering a killing blow it does nothing to make his crime less heinous. Still, that brand of online deception is more and more the kind practiced by MS."

    source: http://www.pjprimer.com/subscribers/porch.html

    Not usually an AC, but sometimes ACdom seems to be warranted. This is one of those times...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, he's quite right in his assessment of the American public at large and what they want and demand from a computing platform. I retailed computers for a while to typical joes; I know they could save a hell of a lot of money by buying a palm pilot and a playstation. I'd say he's right on.

    What he wants the public to think, though, and the areas where Microsoft is generally quite wrong, are these:

    They think they can provide what "most customers" are looking for. However, the Amiga, Atari, and Macintosh platforms were scoring much higher customer satisfaction than Microsoft when they were in business, and the Mac continues to do so.

    They think they are relevant in the world of computer science and business. Truth is, their contributions to the computer world are so few and so irrelevant that if they were to drop off the face of the planet tomorrow, there would be a few sighs and some rearranging, but then people would pick right back up where they left off, just with Apples, Suns, Linux or BSD boxes, et cetera. It's amazing how little Microsoft actually contributes to the world around them, for all their behemoth influence.

    They think they can halt Linux and free software's influence on their market dominance. Yes, they may be able to hold the attention of the average joes, and more power to them. Do I care? No; I'm not a very average computer user. I also don't deal with many average computer users, either. And I'm discovering that there are thousands of people like me who find Microsoft increasingly irrelevant to the computer industry, and who simply decide not to give them the attention they desire. Hence the sudden growth of the Linux community.

    Bottom line, I guess, is that it doesn't really matter who Bill rails against today, nor tomorrow, nor next week. For the rest of the computer industry, life goes on; for the free software community, we can continue in our bliss, ignorant of what Bill has to say about us, since he can't influence us anyway.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 1999 @03:52PM (#1933416)
    For US (not U.S but for us geeks) Gates is irrelevant, he would be relevant if he had SO much power that he could control protocols.. but that will never happen. MS will be split up, or not.. it doesn't matter cause Linux and the Free BSD's will not die. And for all those poeple whining: "Welcome to the Real World, where commercial software development blablabla..". I just don't care about your silly "real word". I know it, I live in it, doesn't mean I have to like it do I?

    Don't you get it? There's NO WAY Windows will ever outpower Linux/BSD because it's decisions are based on marketing instead of pure technical issues, making Linux unbeatable.

    So please, stop posting stuff about anti-Linux FUD, about misleading Benchmarks etc. Peace Slashdot brothers and sisters!
  • Its just a VERY big point :)
  • Gates said there was clearly a market for free software but this was mainly confined to relatively simple applications such as word processing and spreadsheets
    Uh... Its been a while since I would call Word or Excel "relatively simple" by any stretch of the phrase.

    Modern browsers were far more sophisticated and could no longer be developed in a noncommercial environment.
    Guess he hasn't seen mozilla [mozilla.org] in a while. Furthermore, doesn't it seem that most of the "complexity" [read: badly implimented features] in browsers are due to Internet Explorer.

    Gates said, for example, that there were five different windowing systems that run on Linux.
    Even if I agreed with him on his definition of "windowing systems", doesn't more = better?!

    I guess the main thing we can garnish from comments from "The Man" like this one is that they are scared. Very scared. Now more than ever it is time to support GPLed projects for linux. If we can evolve quickly they won't even notice as we stride past them.

  • I agree ... what a totally stupid statement (on Mr. Gate's behalf):

    The Microsoft chairman noted, for example, that early Internet browsers had been distributed for free, but said that modern browsers were far more sophisticated and could no longer be developed in a noncommercial environment.
    Interesting! The Internet browser which nobody (virtually) pays for is actually the most complex application and requires commercial development. Nice ... so how come we get them for free? Strange, very, very strange ...

    Gates said there was clearly a market for free software but this was mainly confined to relatively simple applications such as word processing and spreadsheets.

    Again I think this is very odd. We pay hundreds of dollars for these "trivial" applications (such as MS-OFFICE) ... yet they're a piece-of-cake to develop and any joe-blow college student can whip one together in his spare time???

    This is quite revolutionary! When are we going to start getting MS-Office for free and have to start paying again for MS-Explorer? Wow, really big news hidden between these lines ... this should be everywhere, spread the news!

    Mr. Gates is, again, as bass ackwards as the Mindspring benchmarks that he bought!

  • Simple applications such as word processing and spreadsheets? Suddenly I'm wondering if these 'simple' applications might be free, why in heavens do the microsoft versions cost close to $300USD per app? And why do I need 64 megs of ram to even consider running office and NT?

    I often wish we could go back to the good old days, when the press ignored us and it was exciting to see the word Linux in print.

    As for the viability of open source software, history has proven it again and again, and it has also proven that you can say white is black but eventually the people that matter while realize that white is white.

    Ignore the borg.
  • by Pete Bevin ( 291 ) on Wednesday April 14, 1999 @03:15PM (#1933421) Homepage
    Well, there you go.

    In the 80s, they said that free software was OK for simple stuff, but it would never come out with anything "production quality".

    Then gcc came out, and it was production quality.

    In the early 90s, they said that it would be limited to hacker tools, and nobody would ever make things for real users.

    Then gimp, kde, enlightenment, gnome and the rest of them came out, and real users started using them.

    Now they say free software will be limited to simple applications, and it'll never be able to make anything with more than a few features.

    *yawn*. I'm off to hack Mozilla some more.
  • Remember Mr Bill on the old Saturday Night Live?
    Imagining a cool show along those lines, where the "Mr Bill" clay
    doll uncannily bears a bit of resemblance to the Mr Bill in
    Redmond... "Mr. Hands" could be a sysadmin, and "Sluggo" could become
    a bit more penguin-like... just a thought. :-)
  • ``Today the browsers have gotten rich enough that it's not the kind of software that you can develop and test in a university-type of environment,'' he said.

    I guess he means something like Open Source by "university-type of environment." Time will surely tell if you can develop browsers in that kind of environment. I have great hopes for Mozilla, though I haven't seen much yet.

    relatively simple applications such as word processing and spreadsheets

    I fail to find a reference, but wasn't there some quote some time ago that said something along the lines of the free software community being unable to develop advanced features. Features like that red line in their on-the-fly spell checker? Now word processors are suddenly simple stuff?

    He is right, though, that everything is working with each other in Windows. Well, as long as you do not install too much stuff that was not shipped directly on the Windows CD. But nowadays, you (the average person) do not need much more than what ships with Windows anyway.

  • Two things: as far as I recall, Gnome and KDE merged to use the same drag'n'drop protocol. To me this is a sign that when it really matters, even "competing" free projects are smart enough to do the technically best thing. We have five (or fifty?) different window managers because there are different needs - but for a DnD protocol the number one need is that you can D anywhere.

    Second, the growing rate might be eight times that of NT, but this means little without context. Consider that the user base of Linux had already grown by 1000% when person number ten downloaded version 0.03 (or whatever).
  • by drwiii ( 434 )
    And to think, in an alternate universe Linus Torvalds is probably saying "Windows NT had limited impact".

    Oh, wait, that's not an alternate universe; it's the future..

  • "Sendmail"

    Err..seems to me an office suite would be more complex than Apache anyway. Sounded like Msr Gates
    was pitching NT anyway. Funny about the browsers, I thought, whats left commercial wise IE and Opera? Whoop-dee-doo...
  • Hmm...the sad thing is, Red Hat really doesn't provide Q/A. At least they haven't proven it yet.

    It's rather ironic that the distribution that seems to provide the highest level of quality (in terms of features and stability) is Debian: a completely free distribution put together by volunteers.

  • Seriously, what instabilities do you see in Red Hat? I've been using it a while, and I currently run RH 5.2 with kernel 2.2.5. I have never had a problem.

    You're quite lucky, then. I installed RH 5.1 on two machines. The blasted control-panel/linuxconf system simply does not work. For example, I try to fire up ppp with linuxconf and I get loads of disk activity (probably dumping core).

    Configuration is a nightmare for anyone remotely familiar with the "traditional" method of system administration (i.e. editing text files). Because the configuration files are auto-generated with invocations of other scripts (sometimes several layers deep), it's tough to wrap your mind around what is supposed to happen. But perhaps that's just me and I'm not "with it." It wouldn't be the first time. :)

    Compiling everything by hand gets old fast, especially on my system [p166/48mb].

    No argument there. Debian, IMHO, has a much better package system that Red Hat. apt is the main reason.

    BTW: I've tried Debian. In fact, its currently on my secondary system [486/66, 64mb]. However, I still haven't gotten it fully configured the way I like it. Stability, yes, but I still have problems getting it to do what I want it to. Its always fun when dselect decides to skip over half the packages you told it to install.

    I've had similar problems with dselect, but I attribute that to my lack of reading on the subject. :) I think it's fair to say that most people agree dselect is not exactly the package interface you want to have. I'm not claiming Debian is the be-all end-all Linux distribution. I said it was the best (always IMHO) in terms of features and stability.

    Seriously, the Linux community seems to have split into two groups: people who acknowledge that Red Hat has done a lot of good for the community, and those who constantly throw FUD at Red Hat.

    It should not be US fighting each other over who has the better distro. I've yet to use a distro that was significantly better or worse than another.

    I am not throwing FUD. The Linux community in general and the Slashdot community in particular (I'm including the *BSD, Be, etc. folks here as well) are going to have to face the fact that their favorite system is not perfect. There are problems, and those problems need to be faced head-on. It does no good to cry "FUD" as a defense against criticism. Call what is FUD FUD. Call what is constructive criticism the road to better software.

    I don't recall saying that Red Hat has not done good things. They've done a lot. And I would never criticize them for their status as a successful corporation. But one must not get complacent. We can only pat ourselves on the back for so long.

  • Gee, Mr. Bill has forgotten the little bit of History that created the PC business...A little program called Visicalc for the Apple ][. Suddenly, it wasn't a hobbiest machine, it was a business machine that could do company payroles in minutes what it took people by hand to do in a day.

    Then another little package called Lotus 1-2-3 came along, and did much the same for the IBM PC.

    SO, spreadsheets are not important...yeah, right.

  • Is this really possible? Everything I've seen on the subject suggests 1 MB as an absolute bare minimum needed to get Linux running. If it can run on 640KB, how much of that does the kernel take?

    The only OS I've used that's efficient and tightly written enough to be able to boot and run useful apps, all in 640KB, is DOS. CP/M probably could too.
  • Sure, people dislike crashes, but they're willing to put up with them compared to the alternatives. Most non-tech-savvy people I know would rather be mildly annoyed and waste a minute rebooting than spending a few hours (possibly over several weeks) trying to get a Linux box working properly, and learning a new environment.

    If you offered them a version of Win98 that didn't crash, I'm sure they'd take it. What they don't want is an OS that doesn't crash but with the caveat that everything is harder to set up, and even the things that aren't harder are still different, so they have to relearn how to do things that in windows they already knew how to do.
  • Opera [operasoftware.com] fits on a floppy, at least zipped. If you play around with its settings (no disk cache, no optional anything, etc.), you might be able to get a semi-old (one or two years old) version to work from a floppy.

    Here's the newest zipfile (about 100kb bigger than v3.5, but still fairly small):

    O360E32 EXE 1,307,250 04-02-99 12:13a

    Compare *that* to IE or Netscape.
  • Yes, but can you actually use Linux if your computer only has 640 kB of RAM installed? To run useful programs, you'd probably need around 500 kB free, so can the Linux kernel fit itself into less than 140 kB of RAM (as DOS's does)?
  • Speaking of radio, you mentioned a while back that you were using a radio modem to connect (albeit quite slowly) while your ADSL line was down. I don't think I've ever seen a radio modem. Any links to sites I could get info on them?
  • I've heard that repeated over and over again here, and that's part of the problem, but it's not the whole problem. Windows 95/98 installation is still much easier than Linux installation (even of RedHat). When I installed Windows 95 on this computer, it auto-detected my video card, network card, serial mouse, IDE Zip drive, monitor, and just about everything else. When I installed Linux, the basic OS installation wasn't too bad (though definitely a bit kludgy since it was Slackware 3.0), but in order to get the GUI running, I had to muck around in XF86Setup for quite a while. Whereas Windows auto-detected both the video card and monitor and told me what video settings were supported, in XF86Setup I pretty much had to guess until I got something that didn't mess up my monitor. Ironically, I rebooted windows once or twice during the installation, but I rebooted Linux at least five times before everything including X was running (several times due to messed up consoles after i tried to cat a binary file, and several times due to my monitor getting set into a video mode it didn't support, and me having no idea how to get out of it).
  • Yeah, I've been following that story for a while, and submitted it to /. a week or so ago. Apparently, despite its repeated protestations that /. is not a Linux-only site, "Bill Gates makes fun of Linux" is somehow more nerd-news-worthy than spamming through amateur radio satellites. I also haven't seen anything here about the recent FCC rule changes making it a crime to scan cell-phone frequencies (instead of making cell phone manufacturers implement secure communications).
  • >>>
    Check out the clueless talkback responses for (yet another) another good laugh.

    Clueless? No more so than most of Slashdot, and every bit as rabidly ANTI-Microsoft. Of approximately fifty responses, I think I found one that was _moderately_ sympathetic to MS, the rest bash them as hard as "we" do.

    So get a clue yourself before blowing off ZDNet readers. Some of us read more than just Slashdot.
  • Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    Ummmm....the only reason people use Win95 is for the "simple" apps like wordprocessing and spreadsheets.

    What are these complicated apps that Win95/NT runs so well? It sure ain't battleships...
  • Posted by Morpheus_solo:

    There is something that is frustrating about being a Linux user. And that is competing with a company with the resources and commercial power that Microsot has. As a strong Linux supporter (albeit a relative newbie) I see the path of where Linux wants to go and where Linux is. However this is more of a battle of David v. Goliath proportions and the one thing that the Linux community has is belief. Microsoft is a company that has thrived off of a poorly designed operating system due to great marketing and appeasing people's doubts. Linux will persevere in this matter because it is a better product (for lack of better word) and it has the strength of the Computing Community behind it. It is derived from UNIX which has persevered since the late 60's early 70's. Linux may never be the desktop OS, but in this world what matters is that you use a product that you believe in. The best form of marketing is still word of mouth and until Linux can generate enough revenue to support marketing, it is up to us...the few, the proud, the geeks. So do your part in spreading the word. Slashdot is a great place to vent your frustrations, but venting to like minded people accomplishes nothing. I suggest venting out in more public places (for starters MSNBC). If we can't get an above ground audience, then the underground crown will have to make enough noise to be heard by the mainstream. Do your part, spread the word. Have a good day.
  • Posted by Morpheus_solo:

    read my comment titled "Frustrations of right and wrong" it is just above yours.
  • Posted by Nino the Mind Boggler:

    ...that Linux is really a great, powerful, versatile, robust and crash-proof OS? ...that people are idiots if they don't at least consider Linux before they dig out their checkbooks and buying NT? That would be like the CEO of Ford saying, "Y'know, for many consumers, a Saturn would be a better choice than anything we produce."

    Go back to your lives, people. The show's over.

  • Posted by Lord Kano-The Gangster Of Love:

    If fortune is the source, take up the validity of the claim with them. What you're saying is akin to
    "I defy you to prove that water is wet, without using the words 'water', 'wet', or using the substance itself."

  • Posted by BCDMentat:

    Now is spreadsheets and word processors are so simple then M$ must no longer be in that market. Be nice to see free software compete with Office. I'm tired of $300 updates to get more bloated code. Won't be using Office 2000. I'll be using the "simple" KOffice.
  • Posted by Lord Kano-The Gangster Of Love:

    >>I did read Fortune say that it was Bill, but I can't imagine why he would say that - he wasn't involved in PC hardware design at all.
    If Bill actually did say it, the reason would be this, the 640K limit was NOT a hardware limitation on machines like the 386, BUT the way M$ designed their first versions of DOS they were only able to handle the 640K that was the limit on early processors. They didn't think ahead because "640K sould be enough for anybody". That is why XMS and EMS were done. 640K + XMS + EMS maintained compatibility with apps that could only run in 640K while giving extra ram for programs whach needed (or could use) more.

    640K hasn't been a hardware limitation since before the heyday of the 286. It IS still a M$ limitation to this day.

  • by Tim ( 686 )
    Who exactly *wants* all the cruft of a "modern" browser? I was perfectly happy with the early versions of Mozilla/Netscape, quite frankly. Too bad that the current standards are only supported by monoliths of programming inefficiency.

    A browser that fits on a floppy....a guy can dream, can't he? =)
  • All of a sudden, Linux is only good for "word processing" and other similar applications.

    Funny, I thought that office apps and games (especially games...) were where Linux had the most trouble competing with Windows...
  • This one is a bit too much for me. While Bill might like to run Corel into the ground, I doubt if he would sacrifice his cash cow to do so. MS gets too much of its profits from Office.

    The thing is that if Office were freely distributed (like MSIE, not FSF "free"), it would help Windows, at least in the short term. Since most people get PCs with Windows/98 on them, giving them Office encourages them to use it. If someone has to get a different package, they might just end up trying something that doesn't run under windows. This person might then switch to a non-MS OS and that is what would hurt MS. So giving away Office (or at least "Office light") helps encourage the use of Windows by joe sixpack.

    But I think that Windows will die on its own anyway, so this would slow things down without stopping the big trend.

    IMHO, of course.

    - doug
  • >Where I come from, 64K is a pretty huge chunk of code to waste on something that doesn't add any functionality.

    Oh, enough about this. You know why there's a flight simulator in Excel? It's because some of the programmers who worked on the project wanted to sign their name to their work, something the artists of old always got to do. But now that we're corporate cogs, that seems to be taboo. So they sneaked in the simulator, which if you play with it, you'll note has a scrolling list of a lot of people who worked on Excel. I've been involved in a similar sneak to get around PHBs. (My current employer, the CEO being a programmer himself, puts the programmers' names on the product "About" box.)

    It's a small act of revolution by some Microsoft programmers, and should be recognized as such, not continually brought up as a golden example of Microsoft wastefulness.
  • I realize that I'm preaching to the converted here, but I get provoked every time Bill opens his mouth.

    Linux has five Windowing systems? Three weeks ago the Mighty Bill claimed that Linux didn't have a "graphics" interface, whatever that means. Now it has five?

    I've been using X -- what are the other four?


  • sides of his head. Ok, Linux isn't a threat 'cause it's only for servers in small situations and so doesn't pose a threat to the desktop. BUT Linux also doesn't pose a threat 'cause it's free software and free software is only good for spreadsheets and word processors, which are used on....!?...what....dumb terminals?

    Sometimes I just can't stand it. Then again. other times I just reach for the beer.
  • Whatever happened to John Locke's 'informed public' that is able to 'do the right thing?'


  • by Altus ( 1034 ) on Wednesday April 14, 1999 @03:09PM (#1933453) Homepage
    If spreadsheets and wordprocessors are such simple apps that can be developed for free than why does MS charge such an insane price for Office (which is one of their biggest money makers)

    If they are so simple, maby gates should make them open source... Im mean after all, they cant be worth much and it would be a great pr move ;)
  • Heh. The Solaris/SPARC version actually runs? The only stories I'd heard of it were of it crashing machines.
  • Umm, Hotmail still runs on Solaris and FreeBSD boxen. They _attempted_ to port it over to NT, and it died squealing like a stuck pig. NT couldn't take the load. It was, simply, a crashfest. That's why it's still running on UNIX.
  • Any chance that some evil cracker might turn his/her abilities to the good and crack an armed military satellite and shoot the Swatch satellite down?
  • by mholve ( 1101 )
    What a dork.

    That quote will go down in history right next to "...640KB is more than enough." :)

  • Unfortunately, the public sees Bill Gates as a Techno Willy Wonka, and Windows as the Everlasting Gobstopper. People will hang on his every word, even though now he's more of a politician/ambassador for Microsoft rather than the technical wizard. We must educate the public without alienating it. After all, whn people think that Bill Gates spent many sleepless nights coding Windows, Solitaire, and Office, there's definately a problem.
  • Sure but Freed intellectual property builds upon itself much more effectively than non-freed intellectual property. That's the whole point of it to begin with (IP that is).
  • trained by the Microsoft Evil Empire to believe that lockups and crashes are normal behaviour

    or not. the last time my NT workstation crashed was last september when the SCSI controller failed. Since then it's been up running half a dozen servers and heavy interactive use, no problem. YMMV.

  • it was a zero division error that caused the crash, not the operating system. please check your facts.
  • I don't expect Linux to be as popular as Windows for one major reason - smart people are, and always will be, a minority.
  • For the dancing paperclip, of course. And the flight simulator easter egg.
  • I have to mildly disagree with you. People are developing on Windows because they are developing applications for idiots who specify Visual Basic or Active Server Pages or any number of proprietary things that are only on the Microsoft platform, even though there are open standards that do the same thing only better.

    But I will never believe you when you say that Linux will capture the "grandma technophobe" market. Yeah, Linux is way more powerful, but setting up one of these powerful applications is a major pain in the ass on my Linux machine. The equivalent Microsoft application is limited, bloated and slow, but it passes the "gee whiz" test when my family looks at my Linux box running Star Office and my wife's Macintosh running MS Office, and chooses Office every time. They don't even care that Office has a large probability of locking up the entire computer and forcing a hard reboot and losing their unsaved data. I have no idea why they don't care, but it's that level of unthinking that we have to deal with if we're going to win on the desktop.
  • It is impossible to prove that Bill Gates ever said that - he said he never said it, and nobody has been able to find a single source document (interview with him, news release, article about him) that has this quote as anything other than third hand. I defy you to prove that he did. Quoting "fortune" doesn't count - there's a lot of unsubstantiated crap in there.
  • My point exactly. They've been trained by the Microsoft Evil Empire to believe that lockups and crashes are normal behaviour, and just reboot and retype what you lost, ho hum. And they're so trained that they won't go to something else that promises crash free operation, even if it's just as whiz-bang and capable of what they want as the buggy crap from MS.

    I don't understand it, myself, and the only explanation I've managed to find is "people are stupid".
  • Where I come from, 64K is a pretty huge chunk of code to waste on something that doesn't add any functionality. But then I don't work for Microsoft, so producing small, fast applications that are stable and work well is a higher priority than you're probably used to.
  • Bullshit. There were several MS-DOS (but not PC-DOS) 8088 machines that could address 768K or more. The 640K limitation came from IBM's design, not from MS-DOS.
  • fortune(1) is NOT a primary source. I'm asking for a primary source - the people who maintain the fortune database didn't interview Gates. If he really said it, then there will be a magazine or press release or book or something that people can point to where he says it right out. Whenever I put up my standard $100 for anybody who can provide proof that he said it, all I get are third person accounts.
  • "don't defend the indefensible"? What the fuck are you talking about? I said that Bill Gates never said "640K is enough for anybody", because 640K was never an Microsoft limit, it was an IBM limit. MS-DOS 1.0 could address anything up to 1Mb if the hardware wasn't reserving it, and there were several machines where it did 768K.
  • Interesting, but it's not *the* quote. He also seems to be trying to get credit for the hardware design of the IBM PC, which I think is revisionist. Like I said before, computers like the DEC Rainbow could address 768K in MS-DOS because they weren't laid out the same as IBM.
  • I wonder what this refers to.

    I know of three "traditional" window systems:

    X11, mgr, Berlin

    then rhere are `vgalib' and `ggi', but they aren't windowing systems.

    Emacs and screen on a console are window system, but not graphical ones.

    Of course, he could mean X11 window managers. There are a lot more than five of those.

    And then there are the desktops, with CDE, KDE, and Gnome as the most prominent. Including GNUStep makes it 4, and then there are some minor efforts.
  • Actually, the folks who make Opera still charge for their browser. That does not justify his comment about browsers -- but it does make you wonder if he intends to charge for IE now that he's all but crushed Netscape.

  • I quite frankly don't know what Gates is talking about, and I don't think he does either.

    Unless he's referring to CDE, KDE, GNOME...uh, I just ran out...we could throw XFCE in, and some consider Window Maker to be more of an environment than a mere window manager...

    There are certainly more window managers than five... :^/
  • Aren't the five kinds of people European, stupid, tall, smart, and readheaded? I think that maybe that's right...
  • Y'all are stupid if you're comparing KDE to AfterStep. You have no idea. KDE is a group of aplications, which happens to include a windowmanager. AfterStep is a windowmanager.

    Get a clue.
  • Remember DR-DOS? Neither does most of the post-Win95 world. :^(
  • Damn. Time to dig out the forms and renew my League membership so we can keep fighting this crap.
    What callsign will it be transmitting under? And why can't the Mir folk just refuse to launch it?
  • As compared to redhat auto-detecting your video card, network card, and IDE zip drive?? So you still need to specify your monitor and serial mouse, it ain't that bad..
  • I thought the microsoft stance was that while linux is very good at doing difficult tasks we were lacking a gui and desktop apps?
    Now we've got the desktop apps and 5 window managers and the FUD is claiming what exactly?
  • Bill G. is just covering his own ass. He Plainly Just Don' Get It.

    Let's just hope he continues to have this attitude in public as well as privately, so the full guns of the Microsoft Juggernaut are not brought to bear on our asses.

    -- adr
  • Heh...Actually, there were a lot of features in the original Mosaic that no other web browser has now. Like your bookmarks hanging off your pointer (right-click and there they are), full-screen mode (IE Has this now), annotations, etc. It's bull-sh*t to think that nothing of value can have lots of features unless it's proprietary.
  • by timur ( 2029 ) on Wednesday April 14, 1999 @03:20PM (#1933486)
    I know these reporters are only supposed to report the news and not comment on it, but by simply echoing what these losers (Gates) say, it makes it sound as if there's truth in it!!!

    Let's take this article apart:

    Addressing an audience of information technology professionals in Houston, Gates said there was clearly a market for free software but this was mainly confined to relatively simple applications such as word processing and spreadsheets.

    Like Office 97, which costs more than Windows 98 and is MS's cash cow? It sounds to me like MS thinks that Windows' best applications don't come from Microsoft!

    The Microsoft chairman noted, for example, that early Internet browsers had been distributed for free, but said that modern browsers were far more sophisticated and could no longer be developed in a noncommercial environment.

    So what's Mozilla, then? It sounds like he's saying that Mozilla doesn't count as a "modern browser". Oh wait, didn't he mean to say "browsing technology"!?!?

    ``Today the browsers have gotten rich enough that it's not the kind of software that you can develop and test in a university-type of environment,'' he said.

    He's trying to make people think that Open Source software is written only by college students. What a crock.

    Gates said Microsoft took Linux seriously but felt that most customers would continue to favor Windows because it was a more homogenous product than Linux, development of which is in the hands of a diffuse band of programmers.

    Ha! As if MS's own programmers were any less diffuse. Since when has a corporation's programmers had any direct accountability to the users? Say you find a printing bug in Excel. Can you call the developer who wrote that code at Microsoft and ask him why he screwed up? Of course not! Besides, John Dvorak wrote [zdnet.com] that a lot of ex-MS programmers have said that the build environment for Windows is so confusing that there isn't any one person in charge of it all.

    Gates said, for example, that there were five different windowing systems that run on Linux.

    And every version of Windows has a different look to it! I wonder how much money those corporations spent on retraining their employees when they switched from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95.

    ``The fact that you don't have a central testing point to control ultimately how to build these things probably means that the impact will be fairly limited,'' Gates said.

    Testing!?!?!? Did I just hear Bill Gates tout the testing of Windows 98 as an advantage?!?! If those people really tested their software, would it be as buggy as it is?

    ``People really do want something that's been tested against all the different applications, so that they know exactly what is out there,'' he said.

    The only time MS tests with other vendor's applications is when they want to find a way to break them.

    This has led some industry observers to suggest that the system, originally created by a Finnish college student, could one day challenge the supremacy of Microsoft's Windows.

    I don't use Linux since OS/2 is my OS of choice, but I think Linux is already challenging Windows. That sentence should read "could one day defeat the supremacy of Microsoft's Windows."

    Timur Tabi
    Remove "nospam_" from email address

  • I have noticed the sudden increased advertising for the company. The benchmarks, the claims, the coop advertising. Its getting thick with FUD.

    It will be interesting to see what about to happen. Usually, a company starts spending massive amounts of marketing money when it or a competitor is about to push something through the door.
  • Although what you said is probably true, i have a nice pII 350 linux setup right now; even if the kernels stopped coming and everything ground to a halt, i'd *still* have a nice linux setup.

    mp3s, netscape, wordperfect, gcc, nice window managers, endless customizability and stability: it's good enough for me.

    There will always be hardware available that linux can run on. it's like winmodems .. just avoid them.

  • The owner says his competition isn't going to be significant. Who would take that seriously from any business person? It's hardly worth commenting about.

    Want to see a real story? Check this out. [perens.com] Big corporation steals, walks all over the law, and when confronted about it shows only contempt for the accusers, mouthing bald-faced lies about what it is doing.


  • That's not entirely true. Linux needs a sufficiently large installed base to get the hardware verdors' attention. The code may very well be free, but what good is it if all the hardware you can buy is proprietary, and requires you to sign an NDA to develop drivers for? Free software needs the market share, because market share is what hardware vendors care about. If we can convince them that by supporting Linux they'll sell more hardware, Linux will continue to be a viable option.
  • by dria ( 9758 ) on Wednesday April 14, 1999 @03:58PM (#1933568)
    You realize that it doesn't matter what Gates says, right? I mean, the man was on a roll for a long time, but he and his company are losing credibility these days. No...let me rephrase that...they're hemmoraging credibility. The main stream press reports what He says, and the main stream press also reports what He does. They also report all the DOJ shenanigans, etc etc etc.

    What Gates does or does not say will have Zero impact on this movement. Nothing Gates can say will impact the quality of Open Source code. Nothing Gates can say will stop people who know what they're doing from turning to Linux and Apache for their file server and web server solutions. Nothing Gates can say will stop the growing throng of people who are turning to Linux and Open Source Software.

    People who know computers know that Microsoft stuff sucks. Nothing Gates can say can stop that. There are more computers out there than ever before, and the number is growing. There are more people out there using computers. There are increasing numbers of people who understand computers and are experienced with them.

    Gates/Microsoft continues to try to keep users from becoming skilled computer users by hiding all the "hard stuff" from them. This is in their best interest, of course, because people who know computers know that Microsoft sucks.

    Nothing Gates can say or do can stop this. His company's success in making the computer more prolific is dooming him where it should have created a Microsoft world. You know what their failures are:

    1) They make crappy software.
    2) They market to the lowest common denominator.

    The second anyone tries to do anything with their computer that is outside of M$'s narrow little definition of the "average user" they realize just how horrible and limiting and frustrating MS products can be.

    Anyhow...I'll wrap up by repeating myself: it doesn't matter what Gates says. He cannot stop us, so ignore him. Not even the main stream press really takes him seriously anymore...not with everyone in the world launching a lawsuit against 'em.

    - dria
  • Yah! I smiled at this one. Doesn't Microsoft pride itself on the casual "campus" environment up in Redmond?

    I also found it hilarious that Linux is only good for word processing and spreadsheets. According to the what I read in the trade press, Microsoft's revenues would be significantly lower without MS Office9x. I doubt that Visual BASIC is what's paying for Bill Gates' new house.

  • Well maybe Gates knows something not many other people do -- Microsoft Office has gotten pretty much every feature that could be possibly be devised. Pretty soon, someone is going to come up with a reasonably good enough clone, and then their cash cow is dead.

    The long term plan for Office is to turn it into the front end for a client-server document management/groupware/web publishing system. Microsoft has found out that the network is the profit center and may be ready to ceed the 'simple' word proc and spreadsheet market.
  • I think a good part of the idea behind free software is having freely available applications like word processors. Think about: since the 8088 people have been using pc's for the same thing: word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and a few other odds and ends. And that has been the MAIN use computers have gotten, until the recent advent of the net. And businesses are similar, the only have a few actualy applications they run, mostly databases. Sure, the apps have come a long way from what they used to be, but really, sometimes the functionality isn't all that different. With every generation of computers there has been another generation of word processors and databases, etc. But these programs can only evolve so much more... why should people have to keep shelling out to microsoft for them? It would be much better for everyone to have a freely available program that did all these things. Along with a freely available OS and freely available web browser, and a nice freely available gui, free software would take most of the business from companies like Microsoft. Hell, you wouldn't even need a PC, just an "appliance" with a microprocessor to handle these applications.
  • I think there will be more money to be made in spreadsheets and wordprocessors than in OS's for a long time coming. I have yet to see a "free" (read non-commercial, open-source-software (OSS)) spreadsheet or wordprocessor that was acceptable.

    Further more I'm convinced that in the future (say 10 to 20 years) money in software will only be made on HIGH priced, but small market products. Things where the user base isn't big enough to support a good OSS project. Or in very limited time projects (Tax software, with a 3 month window of usefullness).
  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Wednesday April 14, 1999 @03:09PM (#1933624) Homepage

    5 windowing systems? Last I saw, there was only one windowing system on Linux and that's X11 ( Berlin doesn't seem to be going anywhere in the near future ). There's a dozen or so window managers, but I haven't met an app yet that cared much about the window manager. Some of the desktop environments might be a different matter, but even there it looks like apps are going to be relatively independent of the desktop. Worst case seems to be that you lose things like drag-and-drop between apps if you aren't running a desktop that supports the right protocol.

    Bill, get a clue: Linux isn't Windows and we don't have to live with a tightly-bound mess like the one you created. So we have multiple window managers, so what? They all talk ICCCM and similar standard protocols at this point, so from the app's POV it's irrelevant which one is running.

    And if Linux is only going to have limited impact, why's it growing 8 times as fast as NT?

  • by Roofus ( 15591 ) on Wednesday April 14, 1999 @03:09PM (#1933625) Homepage
    I think your missing a very important factor that is vital to the success and life of Linux.

    It doesn't matter what Microsoft attempts to do to Linux. Linux is not just some corporate entity, burdened with the rules enforced by some CIO. Linux has existed for years without any corporate recognition or support. Although Linux does have support now, it could be taken away and Linux would still live.

    Linux doesn't play by Microsoft's rules, and it never has. Let MS bring out the full guns, they can't destroy Linux :)
  • One thing that stands out at me in this report is the comments about some products being too complex to be free. He says that simple things like word processors and spread sheets can be free, but after a point it can't survive as free. He also pointed specifically to the development of web browsers as a good example of that evolution from free to commercial.

    I think web browsers provide possibly the best illustration of how wrong he is. Yes, they started off free and open source, and then a couple people decided to try to make money off of it and they went commercial. But now look at the state of things. IE is being given away and Netscape has gone open source. It is worth noting that the open source version of netscape appears to be vastly superior to the old version upon initial impressions. So this doesn't hold true at all.

    Linux vs. Microsoft is another good example of how wrong this notion is. Certainly an OS is one of the more complicated things somebody can develop and yet Linux is far superior in every way to Windows NT where it even attempts to compete. Linux may lack in the GUI department but that's because the GUI is a completely seperate project (which by all rights it should be). Without a GUI, the ease of use issue is somewhat hard to compare, but I've generally found Unix much easier to deal with than DOS.

    Ironically the things that Bill indicated as being simple (word processing, spread sheets), are the things that he makes the most money on.


  • I'm fairly disgusted with the complete obliveration of the free market and public good that is rampant in modern capitalism. Whatever happened to John Locke's 'informed public' that is able to 'do the right thing?' As long as economic might makes right we shall forever be held in the gripes of mediocrity. The jaded view of the American public destroys any hope for an objective judgment body that would be allowed to represet any consumer 'truths'. Such that even if the 'truth is out there' we would not be willing to listen, for the most part. The recently posted WinNT over Linux/Apache web serving is an extreme case in point. Bleh.
  • What are the five windowing systems?
    KDE, Gnome, Afterstep, Enlightenment, WindowMaker, FVWM, FVWM95? Oh wait, that's MORE than five!!! But I think his point was we're all slack-jawed mouth breathers, and choices confuse us. He is so right. That's why I have the LiteStep shell replacement on my Win95 (gag) machine at work. ;)

    What exactly is a "university-type environment"?
    One that supports the open exchange of ideas, I guess. Can't have that. Problems might get solved that way. Then how do we charge for support and fixes, if everything runs right?

    Oh, and who is charging for their browser now?
    Opera and, according to some, Microsoft. Though M$ doesn't do it directly. Because they're so complicated they have to be sold, apparently. My IE browser at home was so complicated I removed it, and now I have 98lite (used only for Quake2, thanks to nVidia). Much less complicated. Much faster, too.

    I also find it interesting (as did AC) that now Linux, the mega-hit per day server, the firewall, the router, the mailserver, the Beowulf cluster monster, my desktop at home, blah blah blah is really only a very simple product, because it is free. I'll have to remember that tomorrow when something hangs on my machine here at work and takes all of Win95 with it. I, as a consumer, asked for that level of integration, of course. It's not instability, it's innovation.

    Good thing this is all such blatant bullshite only the pointiest of PHBs will buy it. :P

  • Actually, I think Billgatus was saying that the only good free programs are the simple ones like word processors and spreadsheets. And Linux, the Little Toy OS(tm).

    What I want to know is, if word processors and spreadsheets are simple, why do some of them require 100+ MB and cost umpteen bajillion dollars?

  • by FacePlant ( 19134 ) on Wednesday April 14, 1999 @03:23PM (#1933661)
    Uncle Bill is merely marginallizing Linux, as he does all his competition.

    "Who them? They don't worry us here at MS."

    Another way of stating this is: Marginallize it until we do it.

    It's part of the "never let 'em see you sweat" school of thought.

    Many of the early RDBMSes didn't do record level locking. When pressed, they'd say users didn't really need the feature [marginallize it]. Then they'd implement it, and charge extra for it [until we do it].

    I once had the please of listeneing to an Oracle sales/marketing type discuss the archetecture of their Release 1.0 Oracle Web Server.

    "Release 1 is a single process architecture, because that's more performant [sic].

    Release 2 will be a multiprocess architecture, because that's more performant [sic]."

    Remember: Marginallize it until we do it.

  • He plainly does get it. Comments like this are not to discourage the people who have already discovered Linux, nor the companies (hardware and software) who have started to see Linux as a viable market, but those 95% of the people who really don't know, really do think that his judgement is the best, and are going to do according to what they read in the WSJ, USA Today, and other various sources for thier computer news.

    And, if you think this doesn't affect us, that is where we could all sadly be mistaken. It's the slow migration and discovery of Linux by those 95% that is getting the money to start backing Linux. That is what allows mainstream, polished distributions, major hardware vendor backing, and more and more applictions written for linux. If that flow of people toward linux, even as a secondary OS, then the support will fade away, becuase believe what we want people, but the software, hardware and distribution backing really comes from money, and money is from market.

    Comments like this are not for those who have discovered Linux, but those who are just starting to hear about it. And the last thing we need for them to hear is Big Bill telling them it's going to be nothing more then the next Pet Rock or Rubiks Cube: nothing more then a passing fad.

  • Didn't I remember Netscape charging for Navigator until some other software "company" started giving out their browser for free?

    Oh, wait, I forgot. The browser is now so complicated that it is indistinguishable [sp?] from the operating system and therefore we have to pay for it as part of the OS? Sheesh! (man I love that little 'go' button on IE5 :p Yuk!)
  • by area51 ( 33155 ) on Wednesday April 14, 1999 @04:57PM (#1933728)
    Answer me this....

    Does the population of computer users who truly excel in the field prefer Linux or Windows?

    How quickly is that population growing?

    (I should be a reporter)
  • Central Testing Point huh? We all know how buggy windows is and how long it takes to get fixes. If Microsoft's testing works so good, how do you explain all those bugs? What will ultimately make Linux superior is the fact that the testing environment is far larger than anything that can be commercially developed. Linux has thousands of developers who are using, fixing and updating the OS on a everyday basis. And Linux is not actually free! You are paying the developer in something that is much more important and valuable than $$.

    Anyway what does Bill Gates know about software and QC? He had to buy DOS. He is a darn good CEO. He shouldn't don the image of Tech guru. Let someone at MS Research do that.
  • Many was the time, as I struggled through the process of really learning to use Linux as my primary operating system, that I felt like handing #linux a large chunk of my mind. Why is it that a politely worded, if somewhat naive question seems to garner scorn and derision from so much of our community?

    Why are we so quick to ridicule the uninitiated for the unpardonable sin of daring to try and enter our sanctums? After all, was it so darned easy for _us_ to learn?

    The fact is this: Linux has important advantages over Microsoft in all areas _except_ PUBLIC RELATIONS. Just as the Linux development community is collectively responsible for the code, the Linux user community is collectively responsible for the public perception of this OS, and we have not been doing our job. As Linux users we have a responsibility to be more polite, more civilized, better spoken, and, most of all, more helpful than the unwashed baboon hordes of Microsoft. If we lose the battle for public perception, we lose. Period.

    There seems to be an attitude prevalent in the community that there is nothing which can be done about M$'s FUD. FUD only works because it contains a grain of truth. Those the media mistakenly calls "hackers" are a noisy, unruly, rude, loutish bunch. Linux is more difficult for a new user to learn how to deal with than MS Windows. But those facts are _our_ fault. The annoying kids populating IRC are our fault. We haven't done anything about it. Where are responsible channel operators who are willing to kick someone for being rude? After all, we're talking about #linux, not #teenchat, and the free speech of adolescent boys is _not_ a big concern of mine. Linux is harder for a newbie to pick up on because we haven't made a concerted efford to make it otherwise. Where is the network of volunteers contributing their time to help people who've just gotten the word?

    That's really all I have to say. We can criticize Gates for this all we want, but all he's really doing is being clever and hitting us where we're weakest--PR. As with everything about an open OS, it is up to us to change that.
  • Did I miss something, here?

    "The Microsoft chairman noted, for example, that early Internet browsers had been distributed for free, but said that modern browsers
    were far more sophisticated and could no longer be developed in a noncommercial environment.

    ``Today the browsers have gotten rich enough that it's not the kind of software that you can develop and test in a university-type of
    environment,'' he said."

    I got Netscape 4.5 and IE 5.0 for free. Since when has _anyone_ charged for a browser???

    The poor boy is obviously delusional. Somebody give him a smart pill, please!

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.