Re: Why Microsoft is a Threat to Freedom

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Tue, 4 Nov 1997 17:08:29 -0800 (PST)

> > it will
> > be because someone with courage, vision, talent, and creativity will
> > have made a better product.

> Not to mention more capital than exists anywhere in the computer industry
> except at Microsoft.
> And of course "someone" will have to include full Microsoft backwards
> compatability, which probably entails including the last version of
> Windows with your shiny new operating system. Oops! That means that
> Microsoft still wins, doesn't it?

Actually, I suspect that backward compatibility will be one of the
major things that cripples MS, and one of the reasons Linux has failed
so miserably to be the contender. When consumers start realizing that
small smart $20 products can accomplish their needs without the great
edifice of MS-DOS 7.1 (aka Windows 98) or the outrageuously bloated
X/Motif, or the process overhead of Unix, the limited application base
of new systems will matter less and less.

What will matter in the coming decades are communication standards,
data organization, and latency (assuming we manage to stay ahead of
the legislature fast enough to accomplish these things).


Along those lines, I'd like to point out that West Publishing
has successfully purchased Congressman Coble, who has introduced
HR 2652, the "Collections of Information Anti-Piracy Act". This
act basically allows West publishing to claim ownership of the
text of court opinions your taxes paid to produce and West has
collected. To be clear, this is not talking about West's own
annotations which they already have copyrights on, or access to
their databases which they already control, but the actual text
of the court opinions themselves, which we have already paid for.
It in currently in committee.

The bill is probably unconstitutional under Feist v. Rural, but
since its language echos that of international treaties such as
the WIPO charter, it's possible that it will be found valid under
treaty despite the constitutional defect.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC