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Pournelle speaks out against MicroSoft

By wiredog in MLP
Sat Feb 24, 2001 at 12:50:29 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

In his weblog (here after Monday) Dr. Jerry Pournelle says "I think it may be time to take Linux seriously as a desktop OS. That is not going to be easy, but Microsoft needs REAL competition with software that has real market share and can run on the systems we have now."

Why is this important? Dr. Pournelle has been in the computer field since the '60s. In addition to his science fiction, he has been writing a column for Byte for over 20 years. And he has been a major booster of MicroSoft and its products, on the grounds that they work, for many years. He has been supportive of MicroSoft to the extent that he is often accused of being a shill for them. He believes that Jim Allchin was serious in his recent comments, and that MS is going to use the law to, in effect, mandate the use of their products. "And that must be stopped." A final note. In the early '80s, Dr. Pournelle said that, in the future, the money wouldn't be in selling software, it would be in selling documentation and tech support. That future is here, and MicroSoft is afraid. They are afraid, and they have the money and power they can be dangerous with.


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Pournelle speaks out against MicroSoft | 10 comments (5 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Not all biased (4.00 / 2) (#5)
by Erbo on Sat Feb 24, 2001 at 03:07:24 AM EST

I've read a lot of Dr. Pournelle's material from his columns and Web site; while he does often write favorably about Microsoft products, he also spends his fair share of time griping about them. And he does write favorably about Linux; he actually uses a Netwinder as a dial-up gateway box for his home LAN (and his home LAN is bigger than the corporate LANs were at some places I've worked).

Perhaps most interesting is his assertion that we need to move away from both Microsoft and the C-ish paradigm of Unix and Linux, and that we now have the hardware power to do that effectively. (Possible, but then you lose backward compatibility. An ancient riddle illustrates this: "Q: Why could God create the world in seven days? A: He didn't have to contend with an installed base.") He cites examples such as Oberon, and even speculates on the viability of a system written in Ada. I wonder what his opinion of JavaOS (or other OS's based on the JVM definition) would be?

Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996. http://www.electricminds.org

Bias (3.50 / 2) (#7)
by wiredog on Sat Feb 24, 2001 at 08:05:56 AM EST

True, he is not all that biased, but many people in the open source/free software world think, or say, that he is. Actually, I think many people who are boosters of the open source paradigm are rather like the old Mac enthusiasts. If you didn't say nice things about the Mac, and nasty things about Windows, they launched an immediate flame. Eventually reporters and commentators stopped writing about the Mac, and as a result it had very little mindshare. Which is why the advocacy howto was written. Pity that so few actualy read it.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
[ Parent ]

linux on the desktop... (3.00 / 2) (#8)
by Bridge Troll on Sat Feb 24, 2001 at 05:40:02 PM EST

Is hampered by two things. The first is proprietism. The fact that people buy their computers at a store, and the hardware in those computers is often proprietary. Many winmodems work, but only in a small number of kernel releases. The UDF CD-RW filesystem doesn't work for many burners, because the implementation is different in every burner. The second is the fact that OEM's don't offer it in a way that people know they have a choice. They could buy the OEM linux box, with all it's hardware set up (plus they'd have the benefit of standard hardware), no extraeous servers running, etc. The interface isn't any harder than windows, nor the install, but the intervening steps of setting everything up.

And besides, pounding your meat with a club is a very satisfying thing to do :) -- Sleepy
I agree (none / 0) (#9)
by dvNull on Mon Feb 26, 2001 at 02:52:21 PM EST

Once Linux has been setup and running, using it is as easy as using Windows. Maybe easier if you count that fewer people will be wondering what the long number on the blue background means. :)

For example, I purchased a laptop which had Win98 on it. It was a compaq Presario. I repartitioned it and after that found out that since I removed a certain partition I couldnt use the restore CD anymore. I then installed Linux on it since getting windows drivers for the laptop was next to impossible.

The long and short of it is that Linux worked fine, I even installed Applixware and now my mom uses Gnome+Applix as her mail desktop. She doesnt use computers much and she feels that Gnome is easy to use.

Linux is already on the desktop. NOw its just getting more ppl to use it.

If you can see this, then the .sig fell off.
[ Parent ]
No, he IS STILL clearly a Microsoft shill. (4.00 / 2) (#10)
by CRConrad on Mon Feb 26, 2001 at 06:30:38 PM EST

He may have "whined", about how six gazillion DLLs don't get along after he installs three-and-a-half thousand humonguous application suites, or how he managed to break the whole OS -- often in the most moronic fashion, BTW -- and he may have richly earned the satires posted here and there over the 'Net, along the lines of "Bill sent six of his stand-by techs in a Cobra helicopter..." or "Larry helped me reinstall the database server..."; and in those columns that inspired that kind of satire, he may also have whined -- a little. But, the main thing is, despite all his parenthetic whining, he has consistently written as if it were natural and obvious and logical that Microsoft rules and shall continue to rule the roost; he has always, always, always taken that for so utterly granted that it must have, for those who read too much of him and too little else (and I'm fairly sure such people still exist -- I was one of them for years), seemed like not only a law of Nature, but Ghod-given ghospel too.

And, frankly, the fact that he now makes a few confused noises that -- with a lot of good will -- might be interpreted to say that he doesn't see the world that way any more... is just not enough. For such a humonguous, almost literally Earth-shattering, from his point of view, change of mind to have taken place... for us to really believe that, I think it would be prudent to wait a little while to see if the change is permanent, or if it will just happen to last exactly as long as the re-trial [sic! (unfortunately)] in the appelate court.

Heck, you don't have to wait very long at all to see his old views reasserting themselves! See what he says in the very article that got this thread started:

I do not think Judge Penfield Jackson knew what he was doing. The "monopoly" case against Microsoft in that one was not made. [Note the quotation marks around 'monopoly' - CRC]

Nope, he doesn't think it could actually be true they did anything wrong. (BTW, he's still the same lovable Ayn-Rand-inspired ultra-right-wing kook he has always been, as he illustrates in the very same paragraph by intimating that "TRUE" monopolies can only be government-created or -"enforced". Total fucking bullshit, but to an economist perhaps the surest sign that it's a way-loony objectivist / libertarian / whatever they want to call themselves nowadays that you've found.)

Anyway, he goes on to divulge what Linux is really all about:

Microsoft needs REAL competition [bold typeface mine - CRC]

There you have it. It's not as if anything but Microsoft were actually good or useful on its own; the only function any competing system can really have is to light a bit of a fire under Microsoft's ass, so the Juggernaut wakes up and reasserts its rightful position at the top of the food-chain.

If anything is surprising here, it's how anyone could take that article to mean that he is not a shill -- when all the evidence you could ever need (or want) that he is one, is right there in that same article.

       Christian R. Conrad

      Christian R. Conrad

I live in Finland.
Pournelle speaks out against MicroSoft | 10 comments (5 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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