Is it Wrong to Love Microsoft… blindly?

by Devanshu Mehta

This is my constructive response to the column at “CoolTechZone”:http://www.cooltechzone.com on the 5th of August titled “Is it Wrong to Love Microsoft?”:http://www.cooltechzone.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=1645&Itemid=0&limit=1&limitstart=0 To give you a little perspective, I have a WindowsXP desktop dual booted with “Fedora Core 4 Linux”:http://fedora.redhat.com, Windows XP Professional laptop, and “Mac Powerbook”:http://www.apple.com/powerbook/ at home and so have sufficient experience with all of them.

“Is it wrong to love Microsoft?”

First of all, the short answer is- no, it isn’t wrong.

“The question is why do they? I love Microsoft. Absolutely adore it and what’s more, I hate Linux. I think it’s the most over rated piece of software ever built and survives simply out of spite and not because it is terribly good at doing something because it is not!”

I am curious what your experience with Linux is. I agree that Linux is not for everyone, but for a developer, researcher, network manager or someone looking to build their own systems there is nothing like it. Considering the fact that you have the source to do what you choose with makes it a tremendous platform. People have ported it to the “Xbox”:http://www.xbox-linux.org/, powerpcs, palms, “ipods”:http://www.ipodlinux.org/Main_Page and all kinds of “other antique devices”:http://linuxresource.com/Platform_Ports/index.php and it still works the same. There is even a version (called “busybox”:http://www.busybox.net/ ) that is under 1Mb and can be carried on a floppy. It is this flexibility and extensibility that people love.

“It has given us Windows, sure, it was buggy earlier and a lot of things didn’t work like they were supposed to (plug and play springs to mind) but it was a pioneering effort.”

Not really.

“I understand the criticisms about the security of the software, the critical flaws and what not but again, we must look at things in the proper perspective. More than 95 pecent computers in the world use one form of Windows OS or another. The remaining being divided between Linux, MAC etc. now lets say MAC has 1 percent, does it make sense for a hacker to create a virus that can at best infect just 1 percent of the computers in the world? It doesn’t, therefore you don’t have as many security threats for other software as most of the people developing Linux probably sit at night writing up malicious code for windows!”

What you say is true- but you require some perspective as well. There are some basic security decisions that Windows has made that people disagree with, the most important of which is that every user and process my default runs as an administrator. For the average, home user “this is dangerous”:http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/secnews/articles/lpuseacc.mspx. Otherwise, your point on security is valid.

“Considering the fact that everyone who knows how to write two bits of code dreams of hitting windows with a virus, the guys at the “Redmond Giant” are doing a spectacular job.”

Hmm… I wonder why everyone who knows programming wants to his Windows with a virus? Is it because people who program prefer other platforms?

“XP is such a joy when it comes to simply connecting a device and watching the pretty little bubble detecting it and saying “its installed and ready for use” makes the slightly high price absolutely worth it.”

I agree- it is one of the strengths of Windows. But can you install Windows on a powerpc, or a Sparcs, or an Xbox or ANY other hardware of your choice? You can with Linux, though not as easily. I’m just demonstrating why people like other OSes in addition to Windows.

“In Linux, you have to recompile a kernel if you want to so much as change your modem! Give me a break guys, Linux is light years behind Windows XP and I am sure it will be further back biting the dust when Longhorn (now Vista) comes out.”

Ummm, have you actually used Linux lately? I suggest you try out a user friendly version like Fedora Core “Gentoo”:http://www.gentoo.org and then rewrite your column.

“This reminds me of the bundled issues with the antitrust lawsuits being slammed on it.”

Some, but not all, of the lawsuits are justified. Microsoft has been anti-competitive. Not many people dispute that- “not even Microsoft”:http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/legal_newsroomarchive.mspx?case=Settlement%20Proceedings, they settled in a lot of cases and agreed to future improvements in their behavior.

“Microsoft made some products which it would like to ship together with its OS, no where in the EULA does it say that “you are not authorized to install other software” If Mr. John Doe thinks media player is the worst piece of software he has ever used, he is free to go and download Winamp or Musicmatch Jukebox (neither of these offer free full versions).”

Ah, yes but there are many “other free versions”:http://www.videolan.org/vlc/. Regardless, Microsoft used their monopoly in one area to create monopolies in others and even if you think thats fine the U.S. law does not. The “anti-trust laws”:http://www.ftc.gov/bc/compguide/ are clear about this kind of behavior.

“Lets be fair and honest about this. Here is a company that single handedly created the market for Personal Computers”

Not true- that would be Apple in the early to mid 80s. My first personal computer was an “Apple IIc”:http://applemuseum.bott.org/sections/computers/IIc.html as was for anyone who was buying PCs in the 80s.

“I do not for a moment think or believe they would be philanthropic and give away years of toil away for free or act in the best interests of everyone but themselves.”

Even though that is exactly how the Linux (and the “FreeBSD”:http://www.freebsd.org, “Firefox”:http://www.getfirefox.com, “OpenOffice.org”:http://www.openoffice.org, “Apache”:http://www.apache.org, and others’) communities behave. They program for their own benefit AND for the benefit of anyone who could use their code. It’s nice, fun, good quality and makes you feel like your part of something bigger than a petty corporation. You should try it out some time.

I appreciate a job well done and don’t fault them for much. I do however think there are (in most cases) better choices out there. People do themselves a disservice by not trying out all the other things out there. Next time you’re in the market for a computer try out a “$500 Mac mini”:http://www.apple.com/macmini/ (not overpriced) or a “$300 Linux box”:http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2139388/299-linux-pc-hits-shelves (I can advise you on building one too!) and you will experience a different world that can co-exist with your Windows world.

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