Re: Working Within the System

From: Martin Ling (
Date: Sat Apr 29 2000 - 15:11:18 MDT

On Sat, Apr 29, 2000 at 03:01:01PM -0500, Billy Brown wrote:

> Any attempt to replace this vigorous competition with some kind of managed
> "fair" competition will simply hobble the operation of the market and create
> excuses for further government meddling. History shows that government is
> not fit to judge what products consumers what, how much they should cost,
> how they should be bundled, or what technologies should be used to build
> them. Leaving these decisions up to the market may not always produce
> perfect results, but it does give us steady improvement over time.
> Government intervention, OTOH, simply replaces voluntary choices with a
> political process that inevitably leads to inefficiency, low quality,
> stifled innovation and lack of choice for consumers.

I fully agree that the US government would/will be incompetent at this
task. However, whether or not Microsoft complies with any regulations set
by the US government is neither my point or an issue that concerns me (I
do not live in the US, and I do not use Microsoft's products).

However, there are very competent bodies who set out open industry
standards for software, hardware and the Internet.

And you know what? I'm not even suggesting Microsoft has to use them!
They are more than welcome to go off and use their own proprietary
standards instead.

What I *really* object to is the way they take the standards, claim they
are using them, and then produce their own broken implementation, add their
own undocumented features, and use their position to make sure those
changes get spread and used, causing incompatibilities everywhere.

The modern world is *utterly dependent* on its IT infrastructure. The
days when a few commercial entities could be entrusted with it should be
long past. I have no objection to Microsoft writing and selling their
software, and making a hell a lot of money out of it. But they don't
have any right to make things difficult for those (who are *not*
competitors of theirs) trying to ensure people have the freedom to use
whichever tools they wish to make use of the infrastructure, for
whatever reason (such as because Microsoft's are buggy and insecure).


| Martin J. Ling              Tel: +44 (0)20 8863 2948   |
|      Fax: +44 (0)20 8248 4025   |
|  Mobile: +44 (0)7940 482675 |

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