Re: Microsoft

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Sat Jan 15 2000 - 14:05:52 MST

John Clark wrote:

> Ross A. Finlayson <> Wrote:
> >The correct route would be to open Microsoft's, and therefore, a large
> >percentage of computer users', software source code.
> The correct route would be for brainless government thugs to stay out of
> things they don't understand. They need do absolutely nothing because we
> already have open source code, it's called Linux. I don't know at the end of
> the day if the Windows approach or the Linux approach will produce better
> software and neither do you, so try both. I do know that violence or its threat
> (a good definition of government) should not be used to hobble either camp,
> let them compete in the market of ideas and may the best method win.
> Anyway I'll tell you one thing for sure, I'd much, much, rather have Bill Gates
> write my computer code than Janet Reno.
> John K Clark

Well that last statement is quite obvious, and I would agree. The problem is, we
don't know that she or her cronies aren't writing it already.

So I would use Linux operating system and its host of GNU software, in fact I do,
every day. I also use Microsoft operating system software, and program
applications for that machine, and as I hope that others can use it, the very large
percentage of them using Windows, it is in my interests that this software works on
Windows, and having paid good money for this copy of Windows that came bundled with
this machine, I want to customize it to my specifications as a regular and "power"
user of this computer, not some distanced user interface designer writing for some
denominator, although I do like the interface.

That last statement was a run-on sentence.

Now about the government, nobody likes overregulation. The ruling against
Microsoft came as a result of lawsuits brought upon by the federal and more than a
few representative state governments. So, it came as result of a trial in court
officiated under the rules of conduct of the land. I feel quite comfortable that
the defense lawyers were well funded and given adequate time to produce documents
and edited video tapes, it's not my place to say if they were or not. We Americans
don't live in a completely socialist country, by the same token, it is not
completely capitalist either.

So then, if the government is to take some action, which it would be bound to do
upon ruling of antitrust violation sans rehabilitation, it should be to open it up
and "level the playing field", not split up the entity making all of the money off
of it which would only engender confusion in the marketplace and 2^3 new ways to
know their customers.

My opinion is unchanged, that pro-competition would be best served through casting
light upon the workings of Microsoft software to the people that pay for it, not
giving those people thrice the company to pay.

Why do I choose to forward this opinion? No reason, but it is an honest opinion.

The responses to this post mostly show a general sense of antipathy towards the
government and specifically regulation. Regulation is good and bad. The food
producers are regulated somewhat, so that all packaged foods have a list of
ingredients and rudimentary nutrition information. Meat producers have some
oversight, although the allowed conditions are disgusting, but would presumably be
worse. Drug producers have purity controls. Advertising is supposedly truthful.

Then there is the bad part. The government, as the organization to which we trust
regulatory and enforcement privileges, will, like any organization with power,
attempt to expand that sphere of influence as much as possible. Our democracy was
designed with checks and balances, yet the blight of bureaucracy still leaves us
with problems. So, it requires oversight and really pruning like an overgrown weed
or kudzu.

So, in terms of the government, the problem appears to be that it regulates itself.

Back to this software issue, it may be misconstrued that I proffer the "Open
Source" of Windows. This is not so, specifically. My opinion is that the people
who pay to use this Windows to interoperate with the many others that use Windows
have the right in cases to fully comprehend the functioning of this software, so
that it inhibits them not. I do not advocate that others should be able to
redistribute this source code, although they should be able to make changes and
share or sell those. Microsoft would still be the only ones to regulate permanent
changes to or sell their software.

Here's an interesting exercise, get the file format specification of Word 7 or Word
2000. Rhetorical, difficult.

Finally, about the government, the government deserves continual inspection and
(in)validation. As a beneficiary of approaching a third of the gross domestic
product, in the most simple economic terms the government owes its people, who
should feel secure in owning a part of it.

Back to more interesting technical issues.

Ross F.

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