Re: Free-Market Economics

Mark Grant (
Fri, 11 Jul 1997 12:55:29 +0100 (BST)

Bobby Whalen ( wrote:

>Microsoft comes out with a new, more bloated
>version of their software, and Intel in turn has to come out with a new
>and faster chip for it to run on.

And why do you *have* to run Microsoft software on an Intel processor? I
chose a computer with an Intel processor because it's cheap and runs my
favorite games, and I only have a DOS partition in order to run Duke Nukem
3D and Strike Commander (Doom and Quake are already ported to Linux). If
the new freeware DOS clones are compatible enough I'll soon be able to
eliminate all Microsoft software from my computer.

>Have you ever noticed that it takes
>Windows 95 longer to load on a Pentium than Win 3.1 on a early version
>of the 486?

Yes; so why use it? On a normal day my only contact with Microsoft
software is the NT machine on my desk, which I only have because the
company decided to standardise on some weird Windows email system for
internal mail and Word for documents (and because I can happily trade
resolution for colors and run it with a 16-bit display to check out my Web
pages). I do all my real work, internet email and Web page development on

Microsoft is *not* a monopoly. Last I heard their turnover was less than
Apple and much less than IBM. NT was announced as the wonderful new
operating system which would take over the world, yet it flopped despite
Microsoft's marketing muscle; now every year they announce that NT will
soon replace Unix, and every year it fails to do so because it just can't
compete. Not even Microsoft marketing can beat reality.

There are numerous operating systems you can run other than MS-Windows
(e.g. Linux, FreeBSD, NeXTStep, OS/2) and many alternatives to Microsoft
applications. Most of them are no only cheaper, but more powerful and more
reliable. No individual or company *has* to run Microsoft software but
many choose to do so, because Windows has real advantages; it has a large
software base and for novices it's easier to use than most alternatives.
If you don't like it, then don't use it. No coercion is involved.

>If you consider Windows 95 progress then you haven't really
>fathomed the potential software that could really be done on these
>supercomputer chips we now posses.

Windows 95 *is* progress compared to Windows 3.1, and Windows NT is
progress compared to Windows 95. As far as I'm concerned they're all dross
compared to real operating systems like Linux, but they're definitely
progress compared to the previous dross that Microsoft has sold.

>Microsoft and Intel are in bed
>together to insure future business and market share. If you have not
>noticed this, then you must be kidding!

Of course they are. They make money, I get cheap computers; we all
benefit. What's the problem?

>It's corporations that are increasingly requiring piss tests to get a

As far as I'm aware, most of those corporations are forced to do those
tests by the government in order to retain their government contracts and
wouldn't do so otherwise. The exceptions seem to be corporations hiring
unskilled workers, who can't trust them not to turn up wasted; companies
hiring skilled workers can't afford to upset them without a good reason.

What stops you from working elsewhere, or as an independent contractor?
I'm damned if I'm going to work for any corporation that expects me to
piss in a bottle, regardless of their reasons, but I support their right
to voluntarily impose the tests. Until the government mandates tests for
all workers I can simply take my skills elsewhere.

>Imagine if you had to take a random piss test from the government
>just to stay in "good citizen" status and not be thrown in jail!

Hey, don't joke... recently the British government have been musing about
random roadside piss-tests for drivers just in case they've been taking
anything. "But if it saves just one life..."


*No Microsoft software was used in the creation of this email*