Re: which bill in which washington?

Michael Lorrey (
Thu, 29 Oct 1998 13:57:05 -0500

Jeffrey Fabijanic wrote:

> Emmanuel Charpentier <>
> > Having a very usable OS like windows on all desktop, in synergy with
> >office is the trump microsoft has been using for a long time. And their
> >integration with low cost intel.
> These are canards - propagated in large part I suspect by unscrupulous
> marketing types and empire-building IT mgrs. Windows is only "very" usable
> compared to what it was like 5 years ago - it has been and is still far
> behind the curve compared to other GUI-mediated OSes. Many university-run
> ergometric studies support this.

Sure, and many Tobacco Institute studies say you can't get lung cancer from smoking. The facts are that a) any Mac is more expensive than a comparable PC (this may have changed recently, but I'm not sure), b) between 1980 and 1996 the typical office PC was 2/3 the cost of a comparable Apple, making it the obvious economic choice of bean counters who didn't give a fiddlers damn about ergonomics. c) Those office PCs were not capable of running other GUI OS's, they were stuck with various flavors of DOS until the introduction of Windows. If Apple had gone out and developed a Mac OS to work on PCs, then they might have something to complain about with Windows, but if they had, I doubt Windows would exist today.

> And it is much more expensive to maintain a Windows LAN than a Mac LAN.
> Initial hw costs are greater, but support and training costs are lower, and
> Apple computers depreciate more slowly than their cheaper Intel/clone
> counterparts. Again, there is hard data to support this claim.

The funny thing is that corporate types PREFER fast depreciation.

> > But as a programmer, I'm biased against them. And yet they do make
> >some great products, their people are very good in what they are doing...
> I would have to disagree. Several of their products are good (Excel remains
> an example of MS at its best), most are merely passable, and too many (and
> amongst these some of the most widely used) are absolutely horrid. MS Word
> is a horror, from both user and support viewpoints, for example. Almost any
> other widely available commercial WP app is better - Nisus, WordPerfect,
> Claris, et al. Faster, more stable, less cluttered, and more intuitive. I
> suspect that centuries of productivity hours have been poured down the
> MSWord drain.

WP which was first to market was technically superior to Word, thus it got an early lead in word processing intensive fields like Secretarial/legal, etc. and people that got trained in WP mindsets obviously have a fixed idea of how a word processor should run. Word, on the other hand, started off as a simpler application, so its learning curve was, in fact, shorter than WP. Today, it really does not matter, though if a user starts with one word processor, they will tend to have trouble migrating to another with the same efficiency as they did with the original. This goes both ways. I, for example, find WP abominable to use, but only because I spend years on Word.

> Randall Randall here:
> >> Well, as someone who uses a PC with no microsoft software at
> >> all, I don't think that he'd have much control. :) With no
> >> intervention at all, I think that Windows will go the way of
> >> MacOS (which has fewer users now than Linux, IIRC).
> Untrue (YDNRC). According to recent Dataquest research, more than 22
> million computers *currently* run MacOS (70% of a total sold base of over
> 30 million since its introduction 1984, Macs may cost a bit more, but
> apparently they are built to last as well). With roughly 3.2 users per
> computer, that means that there are about 70 million Mac OS users
> worldwide. Apple, btw, has increased its desktop mkt share over the last
> year - an underreported story even in the face of that company's recent
> triumphs in the marketplace.

I would love to look at this study. Considering that most Macs are used in two areas: publishing and college students, I would have to highly contest the users per Mac figures as overly generous. I also contest the claim that 70% of all Macs are currently being "used". I see many more unused/piling up dust Macs today than I do ones in use, and the ones in use are almost all version 7.5 or newer.

> Linux installed base is increasing rapidly (and please note that I am one
> of "those crazy Linux users"), but even the most optimistic (and somewhat
> self-serving, it should be noted) estimates by Red Hat puts the installed
> base of Linux users around 7.5 million. More realistic estimates put the
> number between 250,000 - 1.5 million. [Harald T. Alvestrand has a Linux
> counter project, some quite rational thoughts on the difficulties in
> getting good numbers for this estimate, and links to various other attempts
> to pin down an accurate estimate. ]
> Also check out Quinn the Eskimo's *very cogent (and funny) essay on the
> "Perils of the Installed User Base Argument"
> >>The only
> >> reason he got *that* much market share is A) marketing, and
> >> B) usability.
> Well, this is the point on which Justice disagrees, innit? They maintain
> (and are attempting to show through evidence and testimony) that MS got and
> held a lot of that mkt share through unethical and illegal anti-competitive
> practices. Btw, for Max and others who seemed to have missed the
> distinction, it is various *monopolistic* practices which are illegal, not
> actually being a monopoly.

While I prefer Netscape myself, I do concede one important technical advantage that Internet Explorer has over Netscape, which would, if I were an AOL executive would sell me on that browser as the default browser: page load time. IE hands down loads a page faster than Netscape. AOL's major malfunction over the past 8 years has been that bandwidth per user actually used is extremely low. Page load speeds and mail delivery times, as well as connection reliability are among the worst I have seen in any ISP or online service. This may have changed recently, but at the time of the browser war Justice is arguing, AOL was WAY behind on backbone expansion, and had picked up up millions of new users.

Microsofts sales people may have been agressive, but no more so than I have seen from many other sales people in other companies and industries. If I had been an AOL exec at the time I would have picked IE myself....

> >(as a side note, linux is still quite tough to use and configure, count
> >1-2 more years for it to really get into the general market)
> I think Linux has a great future as a server OS, but I am skeptical that it
> will *ever* reach the desktop in a way that makes a real impact on the
> other OSes. Nor is this neccessarily a bad thing - I don't want to drive a
> 747 to the grocery, and I don't need a passenger car that can seat 300 and
> can hit Mach 0.8.
> But baby, I *love* having that 747 at my beck and call!

Yeah, I'm going to try it out, and I hear that there is a Linux graphical interface available. Has anyone tried it? Opinions?

Mike Lorrey