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Gates Charged with Manslaughter?

NEW ORLEANS (Rixstep) -- There's a new catastrophe in the wake of the original catastrophe in this city and Bill Gates is to blame.

Emergency services are finally set up to help the people of New Orleans - there's only one catch: to get into the system and start receiving aid, the people must apply online where (hold your breath) Internet Explorer 6 for Windows is required.

This has already set several organisations such as the EFF and the FSF into flames. At time of writing, protests are being organised to change this policy.

But they will have a tough time of it and the best intentions will sometimes not be enough.

Federal workers are often hamstrung by rigid budgeting and - ironically - a need for security, and this despite being locked into Microsoft products.

The reason emergency services cannot provide an Internet interface for anything but the given is most likely they're not allowed to download alternate browsers, even Firefox, much less try better operating systems.

Without this possibility they have no way of culturing web pages to support alternate platforms and browsers and therefore no alternative but to say 'for IE on Windows only'.

It's another way of saying 'we're locked in and we can't do anymore, sorry'.

Emergency services are also trying to set up kiosks in the area to process help - but again, they're hamstrung by the effective lock-in Gates has had on the US federal government. It's taking a lot of time to purchase licences for Windows XP and even more time to set it up, and even more time still to secure it, as a naked Windows XP box on the Internet will be compromised within minutes if it's not up to date.

Emergency service workers themselves are furious. Many know they could have had Linux up and running in minutes. Now, with the constraint to run only Windows XP and Internet Explorer, they have to buy new computers, as Windows XP is such a hardware glutton and won't run on the same boxes Linux can do cartwheels on.

And all the while Bill Gates counts his cash, people are suffering and dying in New Orleans.

He's already been convicted of being a monopolist; maybe someone will bring him up on charges of manslaughter.

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