|Home » Learning Curve » Red Hat Diaries
Despised by Millions
Missed by none.
Bill Gates leaves computing behind on 1 July of this year. Mostly. In but a few days. Most people will not lament his departure - they'll applaud it. But nothing much will change at Microsoft: Bill's goons have long ago established the mindset that will continue to hold sway over the corporation and the industry.
Bill wants to devote more time to 'fighting viruses in Africa' and has his beady eyeballs on a Nobel Peace Prize [yes you read that right] all the while he's not particularly concerned about the viruses his software inflicts on the computing world. That's a rather unique personality to say the least; it's not something to admire.
'He didn't have the zest of a Philippe Kahn or the elegance of a Steve Jobs or the stage presence of a Larry Ellison. But the guy revolutionised the PC industry and that's what people need to remember.'
So says venture capitalist Paul Santinelli. It's a lie. And people don't 'need' to remember anything, thank you.
'Despised by millions, Bill Gates nevertheless did more to create the computer industry than anyone else.'
So says Wired writer Dylan Tweney. It's a lie. In fact it's an obscenely stupid lie. In fact it's so obscenely stupid that Tweney's obviously either in the tank for Gates or dramatically developmentally delayed. Or both. More on Tweney in a bit.
It's amazing how completely the uneducated lame sycophantic media want to lick the Microboots of Bill Gates at this historic moment. Here they have a convicted monopolist, the ultimate thief, a totally reprehensible individual who gave them the crappy PC boxes they use today with the never ending virus patches - a world of constant and dangerous threats - and they want to thank him?
Don't believe their hype. Not for a minute. It's probably paid for by Bill Gates anyway.
There's no question that Bill Gates has dominated the PC industry. But he hasn't given the industry anything it wouldn't have got anyway - and at significantly higher quality. Bill Gates has nothing to do with the technology of today. Which would have found adoption anyway. All Bill Gates has done is lied, cheated, and stolen - and tried time and again to hold back the hands of the clock: to hold back technology for his own Smeagol-like selfish aims.
That's nothing to admire. There's no reason to thank Bill Gates for anything. That history has already judged Bill Gates and that he and his company are so utterly despised by so many millions is testimony to what Bill Gates has done and how he has done it. Bill Gates has deliberately hurt people and stood in the way of progress on this planet.
A New Microsoft?
But things won't change radically with Bill Gates gone. On the contrary: the monster known as Microsoft are today of a single Bill Gates goon squad mind: they will continue to bully and cheat and lie and steal to force their products on the marketplace, to force people to use their inferior software even though there are so many superior products available. They will continue to use these tactics instead of trying to produce quality products of their own. Quality doesn't generate revenues; cheating does. That's the way they'll always reason at Microsoft.
Google are the new Microsoft anyway. Microsoft have fallen pitifully behind. The not too distant future may see Microsoft totally eclipsed. A few more years and they may be all but forgotten. That will hardly be a bad thing. But as long as Microsoft survive they'll continue to behave as they were taught to behave by Bill Gates - reprehensibly.
Shill for Hire
One of the most shameless attempts to rewrite history and whitewash Bill Gates is Dylan Tweney's piece in Wired for 27 June 2008. The conclusion must be unequivocal: Tweney's either irretrievably stupid or a shrewd bag man.
- Instead of calling Gates a thief he calls him a 'shameless fan of other people's ideas'.
- Instead of calling Gates a 'convicted monopolist' he calls him 'an unapologetic monopolist' - the subliminal suggestion is the US government were wrong to attack poor Bill and in fact 'monopolist' is a good thing - a virtue.
- Tweney like so many others tries to sneak in the suggestion Bill Gates is a programmer. 'Doing everything from writing code', writes Tweney. A few lines for a BASIC interpreter written mostly by Paul Allen is the first and last time Gates has contributed. In terms of programming Bill Gates doesn't have a clue and the whole world of computing knows it. In fact Gates has made a jackass of himself in this context so many times it's not even close to being in dispute. It's a lie.
- Tweney quotes one Nicholas Carr who says 'in his prime Gates combined the monomania of the compulsive software programmer with the competitiveness of Attila the Hun' - again sneaking in the suggestion Gates was a programmer - and then adds his own assessment about 'Attila the Hun' competitiveness: 'that was a good thing'.
In other words: we benefit from unethical businessmen; Bill Gates did all this for us; we should be grateful. Passing that idea around might be what Bill Gates wants of people but it's not how people will judge him - shills like Tweney nonwithstanding.
But Tweney's just getting started.
'In fact the monopoly that Microsoft once had on computer operating systems was essential to the development of the computer industry, enforcing a de facto standard that permitted thousands of software and hardware companies to blossom.'
Another lie. IBM created the standard. Bill Gates just went along for the ride. In fact Bill Gates didn't even understand at the time what IBM were on about. Bill did not invent the PC; he didn't write MS-DOS; he just figured out how to make money from the efforts of others.
Tweney quotes Carr again and by now the bullshit's getting thick.
'A lot of people see Microsoft as the enemy of openness and innovation but it's worth remembering that it was the open architecture of the Microsoft based PC that spurred massive creativity in both hardware and software and sped the adoption of computers both at home and at work.'
It's not a bleeding 'Microsoft based PC' - it's an IBM PC. And 'spurring massive creativity'? Such as in the way Bill Gates shepherded MS-DOS and handled DR-DOS?
And it's not open either. Just ask the European Union. Ask Borland. Ask WordPerfect.
Bill Gates gave us Windows. That he did. But not because he wanted to and not because he was a visionary and believed in a direction technology would take people but because he was getting outflanked by VisiCorp with their VisiOn. Windows began as a pure bluff. Bill Gates had to make 'Windows' materialise to placate the media - he'd opened his big mouth at Comdex; Steve Ballmer was put in charge of the nameless project. It was an accident - not the result of foresight and revolutionary thinking.
Other twisted factoids.
'When IBM asked Microsoft to provide an operating system for their new personal computer in 1980 Gates got the contract even though he didn't have an OS to sell.'
Not quite. Gates saw himself as a vendor of programming languages - compiler software. He absolutely had no clue about anything else and had no ambitions about anything else either. Gates has always been good at stealing things from others who do the hard work and deserve the rewards.
IBM wanted a BASIC interpreter from Gates. That was it. They mentioned they didn't know much about the hobby computer market; they mentioned they needed an operating system; Gates sent them off to talk to Gary Kildall. The IBM people returned after failing to reach an agreement with Kildall; Gates said he'd keep an eye out. That's it.
'Gates immediately bought the rights to another operating system - QDOS - which he then recast as MS-DOS and sold to IBM.'
It wasn't immediate. He had to find it first. And what's of course not mentioned is he screwed QDOS author Tim Paterson on the deal - he cheated. Paterson found out how Gates had cheated and sued him. Gates settled out of court and Paterson's total recompense for QDOS became nearly ten times the original agreed sum.
'Gates leveraged that monopoly into such complete dominance of the PC industry that Microsoft were able to collect payments from PC manufacturers for every PC they sold - even if those PCs didn't carry a Microsoft operating system.'
True - but wait a minute: these infamous 'Ballmer OEM agreements' were reprehensible. Look at things at face value. OEMs never got refunds; they had to pay up front; they deliberately had to pay not for the copies of Windows they distributed - they paid for the computers they manufactured.
But even this got worse during the browser war: Ballmer added new clauses that required OEMs to make it next to impossible for users to even find out there was such a thing as Netscape Navigator. IBM were really close to losing their contract because their users were still finding Navigator and using it.
'The monopoly created a stable environment where entrepreneurs could develop new companies and new products around a common platform.'
True - but what a crappy platform. Think for a moment what would have happened without Bill Gates. Would the world have gone to OS/2? Probably. Could they have gone to NeXTSTEP or OpenStep? Good chances there too. Technology is not going to be held back simply because you take a crook out.
'Without that standard the computer industry in the 1990s would have resembled the web today - diverse, vibrant, and flowering with abundant innovation but also frequently broken because of the inability of disparate products to make the most basic connections with one another.'
Oh wow. Talk about shameless. Yes it's the Internet that's bad - and Bill Gates that's good. Tweney should have been there for Bill in the DOJ trial. [Perhaps he was. It didn't help much thankfully.]
Now Tweney quotes another shill - one George Colony of Forrester.
'Unlike oil, pharmaceutical, or steel, monopolies are a necessary ingredient in the technology business.'
There you go. The US government were totally wrong in harassing poor billionaire freckled crook Bill Gates. Monopolies are necessary. The US Department of Justice - the very US Sherman Antitrust Act - are wrong. Ponder what's being suggested.
'It's only when de facto standards like Windows or de jure standards like HTML become dominant that usefulness soars.'
That's Colony again. But notice how he sprinkles an open standard project in there: HTML.
HTML is the invention of Tim Berners-Lee. He could have done a 'Bill Gates' - he could have kept ownership in the private domain. But he didn't - he gave it away.
And today HTML is run by the W3C and it's an open standard; it's not controlled by a creepy monopolist; it's not even controlled by Berners-Lee. Berners-Lee works for the W3C - not the other way around.
HTML is not another example of the kind of industry tactics Bill Gates engages in - it's the diametric opposite. Both technically and ethically. And it's an enterprise Bill Gates did his best to crush. Thank goodness he didn't succeed.
After Tweney pushes a few more paragraphs of outright propaganda on his Wired readers he takes to a quote by Marc Andreessen - who must be totally negative about Bill Gates, right?
'It's hard to conceive what this industry would look like if Microsoft hadn't standardised the OS. The industry would be much smaller if that hadn't happened.'
You don't know everything, Marc. Today almost all web servers run Unix; the TCP/IP running the Internet itself are written by, for, and with Unix; Linux totally owns the server market. Unix is the platform your company started on - remember?
Without Windows everyone would be using Unix today and the world would be a lot safer place.
But is there an ounce of honesty in Tweney after all?
'And then there was the problem that many of Microsoft's products simply didn't work that well. Indeed, as the chorus of complaints about Windows Vista grows louder day by day, it could be said that Gates is leaving Microsoft at exactly the right time, before the company's long decline sullies his reputation.'
Describing Microsoft products as 'simply didn't work that well' has got to be the understatement of the millennium. Speculating Gates is actually beat and Microsoft are actually down for the count takes no special courage - it's pretty obvious to everyone.
Citing consultant David Strom.
'If all that stuff worked right out of the box we'd all be out of a job.'
Too right! But what people have to remember is: that extra cost is passed onto them. They're the ones financially hurt by Bill Gates selling such crappy products.
Most importantly: it was never meant to be this way. No other industry would ever be this way. No other industry would ever get away with it.
Myth 1: Bill Gates created the personal computer industry.
Nonsense. It was IBM, not Bill Gates. And IBM simply took a good idea - the CP/M markets - and ran with it. CP/M was revolutionary in that it was both hardware and software independent. The OS per se wasn't much to write home about but its design was. CP/M was designed with two distinct layers for hardware and for software. Software vendors concentrated on the rudimentary API and hardware vendors concentrated on the lower level hardware interface.
Apple made a big thing out of 'welcoming' IBM when they entered the market. They didn't welcome Microsoft. Bill Gates worked for Steve Jobs back then.
Bill Gates didn't even create the operating system for the PC - he bought it. And later had to settle out of court with the original creator Tim Paterson because even here in his first big time deal he cheated. The original deal gave Paterson a measly $50,000; Paterson later got an additional $400,000 and a job at Microsoft.
That's the way Bill Gates does business.
IBM had their own version of the operating system called PC-DOS; Bill Gates managed an agreement with IBM so he could market his own version based on the same code. It was called MS-DOS. MS-DOS was more lax on security than PC-DOS and it proliferated. And once the 'PC clones' entered the market Bill Gates cleaned up.
Myth 2: Bill Gates ushered in the Internet age.
Bill Gates doesn't have diddley to do with any of that. Tim Berners-Lee literally invented the World Wide Web on a computer built by Steve Jobs - and uses computers from Steve Jobs to this day - and this 'web' built on the 'Internet' created by the US Department of Defense and used extensively by the academic sector.
Bill Gates did give us Windows however. But there are few people who want to thank him for that.
Bill's Real Contribution
Here's some of the things Bill Gates really gave us.
FUD. Fear uncertainty and doubt. Bill Gates didn't really invent FUD but he certainly brought it mainstream. FUD is a new way of marketing perfected by Bill Gates. You don't improve your own products - you scare people out of using anyone else's.
The AARD code. Typical of the business ethics of Bill Gates. The AARD code was an evil, very sneaky piece of code hidden in betas of Windows 3.1 sent to the 'major players'. It 'unraveled' at runtime so you couldn't really see what was going on from the bytes on disk - so you thought the system screens you got were 'genuine'. It was written at the personal behest of Bill Gates.
The AARD code was written because the PC OEMs, tired of the arrogance of Bill Gates and tired of asking again and again for an operating system better than the stagnant MS-DOS, had contracted an outsider to write a new more acceptable version. Bill Gates found about this new product and instead of improving his own product asked his people to FUD the other product. The AARD code was the result.
Bill Gates' people began by studying the new renegade operating system to find a way to reliably identify which system was running. After extensive research - resources and time that could have instead been used to improve MS-DOS - they found one difference. A single one. In a so called 'file control block'.
There was a data field in the file control blocks that was never used. Typically Microsoft programmers just ignored it; but the new version was fastidious in even so making sure it was 'zeroed out'. The Microsoft version had a 'garbage value' in this field; the challenger always had zeroes throughout.
So they found the difference they needed and set to work. On launch of Windows the AARD code would run, check the file control blocks, and if it wasn't Bill Gates' own MS-DOS running underneath would freeze the screen. The message: it is not safe to use a non-Microsoft product.
During the DOJ trial the AARD story surfaced and a number of confidential messages between Microsoft managers were discovered. These messages detailed the work and decisions involved in planting the AARD code.
'The confidential messages were written by Microsoft employees between September 1991 and February 1992 as Microsoft was shipping the 'Xmas beta' of Windows 3.1 which included code that could detect what Mr Cole's memo called 'alien operating systems' like DR-DOS, an MS-DOS competitor produced by Digital Research. If Windows 3.1 was not running on MS-DOS it would show users fake error messages.'
'At the time Microsoft officials defended the warnings as innocuous and designed to help users. They removed the warnings from the final version of Windows 3.1 - but only after shipping thousands of copies of the beta, creating the impression DR-DOS could not run with Windows without potential errors, something corporate computer managers dreaded.'
'But Cole considered going well beyond using the detection feature to give users questionable warnings. In the documents he suggested making Windows 3.1 malfunction if it detected DR-DOS. Cole wrote: 'maybe there are several very sophisticated checks so competitors get put on a treadmill'.
'Cole, Silverberg, and Microsoft senior engineers went on to discuss how they would conceal the sabotaging code from the press and hide these efforts from the public at large - and in particular from customers who might flood Microsoft's support lines when problems arose running their software. The plan was to blame the problems on the Digital Research operating system.'
The messages also show executives planned for Microsoft's legal department to further confuse consumers. Microsoft lawyers were to draw up language that would appear on the screen to obfuscate why the competing software would not work. The Cole memo went on: 'the less people know about exactly what gets done the better'.
Bill Gates gave us that.
What Bill Gates Didn't Do
- Bill Gates didn't invent FUD. He perfected it.
- Bill Gates didn't invent the MITS Altair. MITS did.
- Bill Gates didn't write the BASIC interpreter for the MITS Altair. Paul Allen did. MITS hired on Allen as a programmer. They didn't hire on Bill Gates.
- Bill Gates didn't invent the IBM PC. IBM did.
- Bill Gates didn't invent MS-DOS. Tim Paterson did. Bill Gates tried to steal it from him and got caught.
- Bill Gates didn't invent the graphical user interface. Doug Engelbart and Alan Kay did. Gates stole from Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs trusted him and Bill double crossed him. Steve Jobs isn't a thief - Bill Gates is hardly anything else.
- Bill Gates didn't invent the Internet. He thinks he's entitled to own it but he's not.
- Bill Gates didn't invent the browser. Tim Berners-Lee did. Mosaic/Netscape gave it a foothold. Bill Gates stole code from Spyglass to try to run Netscape out of business.
- Bill Gates didn't invent computer malware. But he made sure it had a chance to grow and prosper.
What Bill Gates Did Do
Bill Gates gave the world Windows. That's not something to be proud of. That's something to be ashamed of. Bill Gates gave the world the deplorable state of affairs on the Internet today. That's not something Tim Berners-Lee wanted or envisioned. It's collateral damage for the way Bill Gates does business. Bill Gates doesn't care.
What people don't realise is the Internet's supposed to be so much more than they can experience today and that it would be but for Bill Gates. Bill Gates has consistently done all he can to stop progress and thwart technology for his own selfish goals. Computers are supposed to be safe, secure, and stable - they're not supposed to be like Bill Gates' Windows. They never were before Bill Gates came along and they never will be again. Bill Gates screwed billions of people to line his own pockets. Period.
To people in the industry Bill is notorious - the series of criminal activities he's engaged in is endless. The destruction of Borland and WordPerfect; the double-cross of Spyglass; the attacks on QuickTime and other platform-agnostic technologies; the feared 'embrace and extend' used to attempt to undermine open standards; the Microsoft sponsored SCO attack on Linux and open source; the 'astro-turfing' used to fake grass roots movements opposed to the DOJ trial; the placement of undercover 'spies' inside the open source movement to sow dissension and disrupt activities; the infamous Halloween Documents where it was suggested Microsoft attack the person of Linus Torvalds to destroy the movement; the list is literally endless. And each single item on that list is another despicable act by Bill Gates.
Are these the acts of an honourable person? Are we supposed to thank Bill Gates for this?
The Browser War
Bill Gates didn't even believe in the web. His own 'technology' - that warped monster known as 'COM' and patterned after 'CORBA' - was just too heavy for the web. Bill didn't care. But when Netscape started taking off he had no choice.
He invited the heads of Mosaic/Netscape - including Andreessen - to Redmond for a 'chat'. He told them point blank in no uncertain terms they were not to port their web browser to Windows. Andreessen didn't take the threats seriously. Bad move. Gates moved in for the kill.
Bill didn't have a browser and he certainly didn't want to waste time developing one. He wanted one ready built. He got one from Spyglass. The deal was Spyglass would get 'royalties' on the copies Bill sold. Seriously: what a dirty trick. Bill Gates never intended to sell Internet Explorer. And he never has sold it. So he essentially got a browser - based on the same technologies as Netscape's - for free.
Why didn't Bill Gates want to sell Internet Explorer? Because he wanted to use it to stifle competition. He wanted to use it to drive Netscape from the marketplace.
And what happened as soon as Bill Gates had succeeded in destroying Netscape? Internet Explorer completely stagnated. Bill Gates spent over $5 billion on research for Internet Explorer and never once considered selling the product. It was only used to get rid of Netscape.
Internet Explorer users fell ridiculously behind the times. It took Microsoft ten years to recognise PNG transparency as one single example. Ten years. It was years before they got tabs or any of the modern features found in all other web browsers - not to speak of how web designers even today have to write 'Internet Explorer workaround code' because Gates' browser is so criminally nonconformant. But Bill Gates doesn't care. He never has; he never will.
The people of the world of today are teetering under the crappy software Bill Gates forced into the marketplace. The facts speak for themselves. And Bill Gates personally apologised for bringing so much 'pain and suffering' with his software. He did that back in January 2002. It wasn't sincere - few things with Bill Gates ever are - but he did say it. The words did come out. Bill Gates did admit it.
At least 80% of all Windows PCs today carry an average of 30 distinct strains of malware. That's an astounding feat and you can thank Bill Gates for that.
The SMTP mailing system is almost out of control. Most malware is spread via mail and spread from infected Windows PCs. No other system even enters into the equation - only Bill Gates' Windows.
Bayesian filters were invented to protect people. Is that protection? Potentially harmful mail gets put in another folder?
Blocking lists were constructed to detect 'infected' IPs. Which fairly speaking means just about every IP in the world. These blocking lists often isolate the SMTP server sending the malware. This server gets the mail from an infected Windows PC. It's not supposed to help Bill Gates; it's supposed to simply get the mail to its final destination. That part works well.
So SMTP servers get blocked. But a typical ISP has a handful of SMTP servers for millions of users - infected Windows PCs.
Result? Entire countries can be blocked. It's total chaos and it's all because of Bill Gates.
The Internet is literally falling apart. All because of the greed of Bill Gates.
Bill Gates put a standalone operating system on the Internet. He knows better. Windows - even with the David Cutler NT underbody - isn't fit for use. The sorry thing simply isn't adequate. But even though he apologised Bill Gates doesn't really care. If he weren't so interested in his billions he would have gutted the old design, contracted for a new Internet-compatible design, and had everybody adjust.
He didn't want to do that. He didn't want to let the competition get a chance to catch up. Rather than doing the right thing Bill Gates willfully and knowingly perpetuated a crappy unfit technology he knew would lead to increased pain and suffering for all.
That's Bill Gates. Are you still sorry to see him go?
Radsoft: Rant of the Week
Geoff Chappell: The AARD Code
Eat the State: Microsoft Play Hardball
Geoff Chappell: First Public AARD Details
Geoff Chappell: Record of AARD Research
Geoff Chappell: AARD and Dr. Dobb's Journal
WSJ: Old Mail Dogs Microsoft in Fighting Antitrust Suits
Dr Dobbs Journal: Examining the Windows AARD Detection Code
US Department of Justice: US vs Microsoft Court Findings of Fact (PDF)
US Department of Justice: US vs Microsoft Court Findings of Fact (HTML)