Log in

The unbearable pain of Microsoft products - Liam's write-only LJ
October 27th, 2004
11:31 pm


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
The unbearable pain of Microsoft products
I don't believe it. I've just seen another machine die due to WinXP SP2.

I'm still at a client's, having missed the BSFA meeting & seeing tamaranth. I have networked his laptop and desktop machines for him, so both can use his broadband connection & the printer, and updated his Win2K desktop - to SP4 & a version of ZoneAlarm that can handle MS Internet Connection Sharing, for example.

Then I went to put SP2 on the XP Pro laptop. As I mentioned in my previous post on this subject, I've seen one machine self-immolate with an error due to outdated MDAC, so I downloaded & installed the latest MDAC first - v2.8. As I did with 2 machines at another client just last night.

Lovely install program. It says, I tell you no lie, "Press 'Finish' to start installing." In my world, 'Finish' means to 'end', not to begin.

Anyway, on this machine, MDAC installation failed. A text window appeared with a series of errors about being unable to access the registry files (ntuser.dat, ntuser.log &c.) as they were in use. Well, yes they were in use. They always are, if Windows is running. No option to cancel, to roll back, no warning first, nothing. No indication that rebooting now would be a Really Very Bad Idea.

Then it says it the system must be restarted, and to press OK to do so.

But that was it. Yet when I rebooted, his entire user directory had gone. Registry, shortcuts, My Documents, everything in \Documents and Settings\[username]. It's also erased much of \D&S\All Users and various bits in other parts of the disk. It's hunted down and erased all his user-specific data, wherever it lay hidden.

Thankfully we have a current backup but since MS don't keep the Outlook store (its PST file) in "My Documents" - and if you're running in Internet Mail mode, you can't readily move it - his backups don't contain his email or contacts, so he's lost all that. (It's kept in \D&S\[username]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook, although this is, for some cretinous Redmond reason, different from the config information, which is, of course, in \D&S\[username]\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook. Go on, spot the difference.)

So he's just had to spend $40 on a file-recovery program to get back as much as I can, and I've spent 5 and a half hours on rebuilding his Start menu by hand - the generic stuff in All Users was all trashed, too. And I can't charge a penny for it. No fix, no fee. I trashed his data, because what should have been a minor and innocuous patch wasn't.

Microsoft is beyond a joke these days. This rubbish is not fit to be shipped. Any confidence I ever had in its products is gone, and all my worst fears and prejudices confirmed. It's a pathetic shambles. WinXP SP2 is dangerously unsound and so are its other updates. I've downloaded half a dozen "full files" Office 2000 hotfixes tonight as well, as the Office Update site requires you to have the install media to hand - and he doesn't. It doesn't warn you, of course. No, first you download all the fixes, THEN they won't install. But it directed me to the full versions.

Guess what. They don't install either. They need install media, too. Why? When they're special full versions with all necessary files included? When the whole point is that they are replacing buggy code, as shipped, with allegedly-repaired versions? Why then do they want to reload stuff from the distribution CD? No media, no patch. So I have to leave him insecure, with a known faulty setup - because MS not only can't write clean, bug-free applications, it can't even write a reliable safe patch to fix their lousy apps.

This job would be a joy in a department of 200 machines.

This company deserves to fail, collapse and die, and it deserves it soon.

We already know MS and its senior management are liars, cheats and thieves - it's documented and has been legally proved, in court.


Bill gates told Paul Brainerd of Aldus to cancel Aldus' nearly-complete "Flintstone" wordprocessor for Windows because, Gates claimed, Word for Windows was about to ship. So Aldus threw away the code, wasted the effort and lost a powerful position in the market: first Windows WP, from the company that produced the excellent PageMaker DTP program. It hasn't been started yet. This is one major corporate CEO personally deceiving another, for personal and corporate gain.

Ask Aldus - but you can't. Its flagship products were bought out by Adobe and it went out of business.


MS stole the code of "DoubleSpace" (later renamed DriveSpace) from STAC's product Stacker. MS had been "evaluating" Stacker for inclusion in MS-DOS 6. Stac rejected the offered licensing terms; MS took the code anyway (MS-DOS 6.0). Stac sued, proved the code was copied, and won $200M. MS remove it (MS-DOS 6.21), rewrote the sections that were shown to be direct copies, renamed the product, and kept on going (MS-DOS 6.22).

Ask Stac - but you can't. It's gone out of business. With an admitted direct copy of its flagship product given away free with MS-DOS 6 and Windows 95, it went under.


MS compelled Central Point to license CP AntiVirus and CP Backup for inclusion in MS-DOS 6, under the sort of terms Stac rejected. (Do it, or we'll write our own versions anyway. No, you don't get any ongoing payment, but you can sell your version as a premium upgrade product.) Low one-off payment, all rights, no royalties, no comeback. It also knocked together an undelete utility, a defragmenter and a basic graphical file manager/program launcher based on IBM's DOSShell from PC DOS 4.0, thus giving away for free all Central Point's main products - Backup, Antivirus and PC Tools.

Ask Central Point how good the deal was for them. But you can't. They've gone under.

Cheats again:

MS hired the same team to write Video for Windows as Apple had used to write QuickTime's code for video playback in a window. The programmers did it the same way. Apple sued. Apple won.

Remember MS' $150M "investment" in Apple a few years back? No investment. That was another lie. It was punitive damages.

Cheats yet again:

MS wrote specific code into Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups to make it generate spurious errors if run on DR-DOS 6. Windows 3.1 actually worked fine on DR-DOS - better than on MS-DOS - but MS wanted to kill the competition, so it wrote routines to detect DR DOS, obfuscated the code and actively hid it in the Windows loader program, WIN.COM. DR sued and proved this in court. An acquaintance of mine, Geoff Chappel, was an expert witness, deconstructing and showing the code and the efforts to hide it.

DR went under. The product rights were sold to Caldera. Caldera continued to sue, and eventually won. But it was too late. Windows 95 included DOS, even though Caldera got it running just fine on DR-DOS in the labs, so you couldn't sell people DOS any more.

And cheats still!

You know what Caldera is doing now? It renamed itself SCO and is suing, well, anyone using Linux. E.g., IBM. Guess who funds this? Microsoft.

You could look at the petty, childish efforts to derail Sun's Java by adding proprietary incompatible extensions to the Windows Java Virtual Machine and then encouraging developers to use them (Visual J ). Then renaming the JVM to the MS VM, then dropping it altogether. This is not a company that cares about its customers. It cares about profits and killing the competition by any means possible, fair or foul, legal or illegal. It can afford to be sued, it can afford to buy off aggrieved competitors, and it's so big and so successful that it knows that the US government daren't touch it or split it up.

Look at the tactics MS used to defeat or thwart Netscape, or Lotus, or Sun, or Apple. The former half of these are dead and gone; the latter half, MS has bribed into silence.

Microsoft lies, cheats and steals. This is not my opinion; this is documented fact. It has achieved its dominance through luck, with the success of Windows 3, which took it entirely by surprise - it thought OS/2 was going to be the Next Big Thing - and by guile, deception and dishonesty.

But not only that, it's an incompetent liar, cheat and thief, to boot.

* Look at DDE, as replaced by OLE, as replaced by COM, as replaced by .NET. This is a roadmap? This is a planned coherent strategy? Don't make me laugh.
* Developing a substantial system based on .NET, with this track-record? Do you really think this is a good idea? Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.
* Look at Cairo, announced a decade ago and still not shipped. Windows Future Storage (not a filesystem, despite many clueless so-called IT journalists calling it one) has just been delayed again and dropped from "Longhorn", the next version of Windows.
* Look at the complex mess of ActiveDirectory compared to the simplicity of LAN Manager Domains - which were co-designed with IBM.
* Look at the shambles of Windows 95 and 98 and ME compared to the solidity and reliability of OS/2 - co-designed by IBM.
* Look at what happened to OS/2 after MS quit. It's still around. You use it almost every day. IBM developed it into an OS that still runs most of the cash machines in the world. How many times have you seen a ticket machine or public information display or Internet phonebooth showing a Windows error message? I've seen many dozens. How many crashed cash machines have you seen? I've seen one, ever.
* Look at NT - which only works at all because MS poached Digital's OS guru Dave Cutler from them, and he brought the expertise and team that designed RSX/11 and VAX/VMS and fixed the mess that was OS/2 version 3.
* Look at many of the successful apps MS has ever sold: PowerPoint, FrontPage, VisualBasic, SQL Server, Internet Explorer, MS Mail, FoxPro, Visio - all bought in, not developed in-house.

Look at the pathetic, miserable efforts to write solid, reliable, secure code now.

* A flagship operating system which gives full administrative rights to all users, by default.
* A web content model which mandates downloading unprotected executable code from the Internet.
* The decision, for commercial reasons, to use the same code and the same API to manage the local filesystem (Explorer) and the Internet (Internet Explorer). That's the browser that executes binary code from unknown machines across the Internet, remember.
* The decision to use that unsafe rendering engine to display email messages, meaning that you don't even have to open an attachment to run unknown code and thus get infected.
* An programming model that is so insecure and so broken that the best fix its own creators have come up with is to slap a virtual machine on top and run p-code in an interpreter and call it "managed code" as if this were some kind of advantage. It's not. The only gain would be cross-platform compatibility and the only reason .NET has that is because Miguel de Icaza has written a Unix version for MS, for free! (Novell's Mono.)

This company is the basis of 90% of the business computers in the world. I have to work with it, or put myself into a niche so small I could not earn a living.

If you advise your employers or clients to base substantial investments and systems on this company's products, given this track record, do you honestly think you're doing the right thing? Have you honestly evaluated the alternatives? Do you know the alternatives? If not, you're not equipped to make the decision.

For my money, if you do know the alternatives and you still recommend large systems running on MS, you're either insane or incompetent.

And people wonder why I dislike Microsoft.

Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated

(175 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:October 27th, 2004 04:00 pm (UTC)
You know there's really only one thing to do.

Get off the treadmill.
[User Picture]
Date:October 27th, 2004 06:42 pm (UTC)

If I thought I could make a living as a travel writer, zoo keeper, environmental activist, slum landlord or consumer products designer, I'd be doing it.

But I am beginning to think it's time to look rather harder.
[User Picture]
Date:October 27th, 2004 06:43 pm (UTC)
You have my vote.
[User Picture]
Date:October 27th, 2004 11:33 pm (UTC)
My PC has downloaded the update. How can I remove the files and make it stop trying to persuade me to install it? Am terribly afraid that one day I'll click the wrong bit of the 'ready to install' balloon and trash the lot.
Date:October 28th, 2004 02:39 am (UTC)

Its your fault, you know...

Rather than live your life in fear, why not have a proper disaster recovery procedure? Then you *wont care* what happens, because *it wont matter*.

Disc crashes/OS dumps/upgrade collapses are not a factor of merely the Windows world. It happens to all computers.

If you are in the situation of being terribly afraid, then you only have yourself to blame. Its your fault. Now deal with it.

Or decide that the contents of your PC/Mac/Sun/Linux box doesnt matter a bean, and get on with life.

Either way, try being part of the solution not part of the problem, eh?

(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 12:19 am (UTC)
And Bill Gates is a Bush supporter!
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 12:36 am (UTC)
Can you not submit this to the guardian technology column?


[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 05:20 am (UTC)
It has occurred to me, but I doubt any publication would be prepared to print an article calling the world's richest man a liar, a cheat and a thief. Even tho' it IS all well substantiated.
Date:October 28th, 2004 12:36 am (UTC)
I've seen quite a few crashed cashpoints, actually, and they did appear to be 'blue screen of death'-ing.

Aside, you made some damned fine points and made me 'rar' from my sleepy state! :)
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 05:21 am (UTC)
Oh really? Ah well. All the OS/2 ones are gradually being phased out now, I understand.

But cheers!
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 12:38 am (UTC)
Thank you for calling me insane and incompetent. Oh, and probably a MS shill.

You know you're wrong here - we've all had this argument again and again on CIX. We've taken apart all your examples and pointed out where you've got the facts wrong.

Like for example the Canyon case. MS had nothing to do with it - it was Intel that provided those codecs to MS. Canyon were playing it fast and loose and paid the price. The MS investment in Apple had nothing to do with it - that was actually down to Apple wanting money from MS to have IE on OS X.

Or OS/2. IBM screwed that on the back of MCA and its closed licensing model. Which left hardware companies with such a set of costs that they refused to develop drivers for WARP until they were sure they'd make money from it - so it launched with very few drivers, and failed outside of the corporate markets where standard desktops could be bought/built...

Or Lotus - IBM again, trying to squeeze Notes into Raven, and the Java Components into San Francisco...

Or even Netscape. Who tried to charge ISPs $3 a copy for every speculative distribution, and then wondered why no one was bundling their browser...

WinFS has not been dropped from Longhorn - it was odd to see it in the client first, so it's going to arrive at the same time as the server - which makes a lot more sense.

Active Directory does very different things from Domains - and is an implementation of ISO standards.

And the "broken programming model" that .NET is meant to fix - that's C++ and it's lousy garbage collection, not COM, seeing as .NET wraps COM quite effectively.

MS may be incompetent, but that goes for the whole software industry. MS is just less incompetent than its rivals.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 01:27 am (UTC)
MS may be incompetent, but that goes for the whole software industry. MS is just less incompetent than its rivals.

that's far too sweeping a statement to go unchallenged. Show me Apple incompetence on the scale of Microsoft!

and the main problem with Microsoft is that they are just TOO BIG. As Liam says, they can buy up - or steal - whatever they want, and stifle any innovation or competition. It's desperately unhealthy for the market, and removes any real choice from the average business and consumer.

I cut my teeth in the IT business when you first established what a customer wanted to do with their machine, then found them the software to fit, and *then* got them a machine to run it on. It's all the wrong way round now.

[ctd: when I were a lad, etc]
Apple screwups - (Anonymous) - Expand
Re: Apple screwups - (Anonymous) - Expand
Re: Apple screwups - (Anonymous) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 12:40 am (UTC)
Oh, and the BSFA meeting was quite good too.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 05:19 am (UTC)
I guess you weren't sitting next to someone who thought it perfectly acceptable to squeeze into a narrow space and then shove until their neighbour (me) relinquished the last edge of their seat in order to avoid further bruising.
But I digress.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 12:49 am (UTC)
Not that you're bittter or anything.

I want to pick up on the 'full administrative privileges for all users'. In XP, it's possible to batten down accounts to make them suitable for small children. And then, woo hoo, you discover that most *games* for small children won't run other than on an account with full administrative privileges. WTF.

I'm feeling a bit sulky because I'm buying a new Windows PC, and hence a new copy of Windows, today. And I sort of said I'd never do that again as long as I lived.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 05:33 am (UTC)

Quite. It's perfectly possible to lock down network client machines, or indeed standalone ones, and I do so as a matter of course. No client of mine has ever suffered a significant virus infection or hack in my entire career.

But that makes it an utter pig to use, when you must log out and login as Admin just to update your antivirus protection.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 01:10 am (UTC)
Your opinion, your business, your call. MS products work just fine for me and my shop, though and it's a calculated business decision, not a religious conviction, that keeps us a MS shop.

It's a shame that you had a bad night with SP2 and you do seem to have been very unlucky so far. We've done of the order of 5000 desktop upgrades to SP2 to date and have had no problems at all, now that we've sorted out an ill-behaved third-party application which refused initially to work under SP2.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 05:42 am (UTC)
Of course, it is. Totally.

What's more, all the original competition have been pounded into oblivion. The only way a competitor has arisen now is on the back of a totally new development and distribution model, not predicated on commercial business.

It's closely analagous to the evolution of HTLV3 into AIDS, slipping through the crack left by antisepsis, vaccination and rapid diagnosis & treatment of infection diseases with quarantine and, e.g., antibiotics. AIDS has achieved its "success" by specifically finding solutions to all these: attack the immune system itself, spread by behaviour which most humans *will not* control or moderate, and become infectious during a good long asymptomatic incubation period.

Linux is Microsoft's AIDS.

But we still have sex.

The competition to MS is mostly appallingly shoddy, cryptic and poorly-integrated by comparison - and often extremely expensive. Plus it is, of course, perfectly possible to keep MS solutions stable, solid and secure by diligently learning the complex rites necessary to do so and faithfully doing it all.

However, I feel it is absolutely necessary to acknowledge MS' myriad failings and make allowance for them in the decision-making, and the bulk of its customers do not. They are not even really aware that there *are* alternatives.
Date:October 28th, 2004 01:47 am (UTC)


"So he's just had to spend $40 on a file-recovery program to get back as much as I can, and I've spent 5 and a half hours on rebuilding his Start menu by hand - the generic stuff in All Users was all trashed, too. And I can't charge a penny for it. No fix, no fee. I trashed his data, because what should have been a minor and innocuous patch wasn't."

Errr, why no backup? This was a machine which had no recovery position *before you started*???

Now you *could* have popped in a firewire or USB2 connected hard disc costing peanuts, and done a ghost (or equivalent) of the whole machine before you started. This would have taken... oooooo... mere minutes. Then whatever happened, you could have recovered everything.

But no... not only was there no backup of his data "I trashed his data" but you *also* trashed the whole machine.



And now you want sympathy. Uhuh

As for the rant, its a great one. Not particularly based on facts, but there u go (see Mr Bisson's comments above).

I will pick one as typical of your lack of research:

"The only gain would be cross-platform compatibility and the only reason .NET has that is because Miguel de Icaza has written a Unix version for MS, for free! (Novell's Mono.)"

Riiight. So that just about wraps it up for the freeBSD version of the ECMA stuff, done by Microsoft itself. See http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=3A1C93FA-7462-47D0-8E56-8DD34C6292F0&displaylang=en

where you will read:

"The Shared Source CLI archive contains the following technologies in source code form:
An implementation of the runtime for the Common Language Infrastructure (ECMA-335) that builds and runs on Windows XP, the FreeBSD operating system, and Mac OS X 10.2."

And that was 2002, done by Microsoft...

Or Rotor... or the work done by the south african universities. Or...

Jon H
(posted as anonymous cos I cant remember my LJ password and I think my account has expired)
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 01:52 am (UTC)

Re: errrrr

LJ accounts don't usually expire. You drop back from 15 user pics to four and lose some of the user features, but the account should still be ther.
Re: errrrr - (Anonymous) - Expand
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 01:49 am (UTC)
As I've commented elsewhere, SP2 did creep onto my machine without letting me know; it didn't in fact install itself, although I thought it had, it was waiting for me to tell it to.

Having thought about it for a while, I did a backup and let it go ahead.

And the odd thing is that it's working perfectly. No problems at all, except that whatever notetab pro does to make Internet Explorer open it instead of notepad when you want to edit source code no longer seems to work, which I think is actually a sign that XP is now more bullet-proof than it was.

I agree that Microsoft's domination of the market place isn't ideal, but given some of the alternatives I've seen - for example, Zone Alarm's horrible effect on my home network, versus the fairly benign XP firewall - I have to say that it isn't all bad.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 02:23 am (UTC)
I'm about to upgrade my PC and ditching Zone Alarm is part of the reason I want to. I'ver given up counting the numbers of sites I can't reach with it working.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 02:01 am (UTC)
I stopped using MS software over a year ago and I don't miss any of it.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 02:26 am (UTC)
I have to assume that you don't have to share data, presentations and the like with lots of people. Office makes that trivial. I have family who used to work for Sun and had to try and do the same with Star Office, they had to have an illicit copy of Office running somewhere in order to share data with 3rd parties to ensure that you didn't loose clever builds or formating; the kind of thing that's essential in sales.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 02:10 am (UTC)
sorry to rain on your parade, Liam, but if you went to upgrade a client's machine without a proper backup and rollback strategy in place, the responsibility is partly yours. Windows and PCs are complex bits of kit. There are all sorts of imponderables, and its impossible to test for them all. God knows I dislike Microsoft and all its works, and feel very glad that I am not obliged to use their products in my day to day work, but what happened to you last night is not *all* their fault. And posting a load of inaccurate bollox as rant doesn't make it so.

there have been enough horror stories about SP2 going wrong - indeed, you yourself have had such an experience - for you to have had proper procedures in place. The fact that Outlook puts its store elsewhere is quite irrelevant - if it's important data, it should be backed up.

sorry if this all sounds po-faced, but I felt it worth saying.

/me heads for bunker
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 02:22 am (UTC)

Sadly, the install does prompt for this too. I waited until absolutely everything was copied to a network drive before I went ahead.

It had worked fine for a couple of days but appears to have uninstalled itself this morning :/


I'll ask SteveB next time I'm in Redmond ;)
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 03:09 am (UTC)
Well.. I've got some sympathy, but your rant is a little misdirected.

It's an effective OS upgrade - these are never trivial and really require a full backup before doing so. I know it hurts, but I dont really have to quote Rodda at you do I?

Yes, the office install is broken, and the upgrades are poor. It's perfectly automatable for a population of 200 machines though.

As to Aldus - well, that's business for you. Bending the truth to gain a competitive advantage is something we *all* do if we have any sense.

What MS did to Stac was unquestionably wrong, but what did they do with $200M? Stac, FWICR, was only really a one product company, and that product had a limited lifespan in any case. They didnt diversify.

Central point didnt have to say yes to MS.

MS hired the Apple team for vfw. So what? Employees are bought for their expertise, and providing they didnt actually steal code I dont see the problem..

DRDOS.. yes it had issues, but it was also generally inferior to MSDOS. The floppy drive access time was dire and IIRC memory management poor. Additionally it shipped with a graphical GEM based shell that was slower than GEM itself! DRDOS 7 fixed all these issues but shipped way too late.

I have to disagree somewhat about DDE/OLE etc. They may not be architecturally ideal but have been successfully used for years

WinFS is delayed, but this is nothing new - others have tried and failed too, notably BeOS where the filesystem went from database to FS with attributes.

AD is overcomplex, insufficiently documented and very fussy about certain things but is needed to replace LM. LM is not suited to very large enterprises, and the security model sucks in extremis.

OS/2 isnt quite as solid as you'd guess. The base operating system is quite good despite the fact that to become a real contender it would have needed fundamental rearchitecting to support true multiuser operation. The kernel still has an awful lot of 16bit code, and the 95% 32bit device driver model arrived far too late (post 1996) to make any difference. PM is architecturally weak; it shares many of the limitations of Windows' message passing architecture together with the synchronous input queue. SOM is theoretically sound but in practice flawed

On the bright side you'll be pleased to know I *have* seen a crashed cash machine. It was running NT ;)

As to other points - it's not necessary to give admin rights to everyone, and the web content model doesnt *require* unprotected code to be downloaded.

Yes, sharing explorer and IE code is wrong IMO - no argument there.

Using the rendering engine for e-mails - it's hardly a surprise, and you are able to replace it with safe product.

As to .NET - what else did you expect them to do? They're not about to recode the entire OS from scratch, so migrating to a new API is the only sensible thing to do.

Yes, it's not ideal, but it can be tamed and it is possible to make money doing so.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 06:17 am (UTC)
O/S U/G: I hadn't got as far as SP2 yet.

However, I have installed /every/ previous NT service pack there has been. I have /never/ seen problems like this. The very worst was NT4 SP4 (IIRC) with a reputed 10% drop in performance for disk I/O. Big fat hairy deal.

Aldus: disagree.

Stac: tried to diversify. Bought ReachOut and so on. Failed. I daresay the guys went away comfortably rich.

CP: look at the alternative. Is it really preferable? You die either way.

Canyon/QT/VfW: did you not actually read the piece? They *DID* steal code. This was shown in court and Apple was awarded $150M damages.

DR-DOS: disagree. Except the memory management, but I used QEMM anyway, as I did on DOS if possible.

DDE/OLE: they worked in their time. That's not germane; the point is MS' inability to succesfully design and engineer over timeframes greater than a few years. There are companies in this business running successful architectures designed in the 1960s. MS has been shown to be incapable of this.

WinFS: merely echoes the above. It'll probably arrive some time, and I expect horrendous teething troubles when it does.

AD: agreed. There! Look! I'm not completely frothing!

But that doesn't invalidate my point here - about the dramatic difference between much of MS's in-house code and stuff either bought-in, co-developed with a more experienced 3rd party or developed by a headhunted expert (e.g. Dave Cutler, Anders Hejlberg(sp?)).

OS/2: agreed. Its track record's better than embedded Windows', though, I reckon.

Admin rights: you will of course carefully note my use of the word "default", yes?

Web rendering of emails: not the point. The point is that a sane competent professional should not have made that extremely bad and dangerous design decision. I believe it was motivated by commercial concerns, setting aside both good practice and customers' security.

.NET: why not recode the entire OS? It is the cash cow, the basis of the company's wealth.

I know it can be tamed. I've made an entire career out of it!

That does not mean we should be blind to its faults.

[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 03:23 am (UTC)

I can't help thinking...

...that if you'd taken a ghost of the punters disk before you started, you'd not have felt the need to post that rant.

Oh, and while I also believe that Microsoft are the spawn of satan, you don't have to be insane to recommend them. Just realistic as opposed to idealistic. The wheel is starting to turn, and Linux is starting to become a more realistic alternative, but the bottom line is that even if it was equally as good in every way, if you work in a non-trivial-sized windows environment, which would describe the overwhelming majority of businesses with more than say ten desktop machines in use, suggesting that the next desktop you role out to them should be running redhat will get you carted off to the funny farm. I'm sure that this will change - look at what Microsoft did to netware in a scarily short timeframe - but for now...
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 06:00 am (UTC)

Re: I can't help thinking...

Yes, fair comment, and if it had failed anyway and I'd had an accessible complete backup that could be restored in minutes, I'd not have minded so much. Perhaps not enough to spend an hour on that rant.

I also protest your 2nd para. I did not at any point suggest using Linux or anything else as a replacement desktop.

I've been using Linux as my main desktop OS for 4-5 months. It's *crap*. It absolutely sucks. I'd not wish this on anyone.

(I'll give it this, though: it's a more complete solution by far than OS/2, BeOS, classic MacOS or any other desktop GUI OS of the last 10y that you care to name.)

But I *could* build a usable machine for a low-end business role, with email, basic workgroup functionality and an Office-compatible suite. And I could do it for £0 license fees.

But that's not the issue.

Frankly, I am beginning to think that a sensible desktop OS now would be Windows 2000 Pro with *all* MS Internet, communications & media software removed as completely as possible. Office, if you must, but not Outlook.

But that's another argumentdiscussion.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 06:01 am (UTC)
Then he is dramatically and drastically ill-informed.

I am not saying my actions were perfect, mind you - far from it - but I stand by my arguments.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 06:25 am (UTC)
"You know what Caldera is doing now? It renamed itself SCO and is suing, well, anyone using Linux. E.g., IBM. Guess who funds this? Microsoft."
er - bollocks.

MS isn't 'funding' SCO. MS has a Unix product called Services for Unix - it's like a Unix distribtion for Windwos. When they got the legal demand, MS paid up on the licence to SCO. Guess who else paid the smae amount at the same time?


If MS had known that SCO was going to publicise their payment, they wouldn't have paid (I have that as an unattributable, off the record comment from someone *senior* at MS).

Criticise MS when they screw up. Don't criticise them for what's not true. That way your argument stands up better.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 06:33 am (UTC)
I don't buy it.

Yes, MS paid. I confess that I didn't know about Apple but I don't think that changes things significantly.

But that's not all. Also look at the investment group behind SCO. MS is there, too.

As for believing the words of a senior MS exec, I'm sorry, Mary, but my response is mocking laughter. So he said to you that they don't do their dirty deeds where they think they'll get found out? Well, there's a surprise!
[User Picture]
Date:October 29th, 2004 01:57 am (UTC)
I emailed this link to Boss B, who says the following:

"I seem to recall Bill Gates saying that he thought that the Internet would never be of use to businesses and that MS wouldn't bother with it. They had to change that view very quickly, and that may be why they had to go the plagiarism/acquisition route, rather than develop the stuff themselves.
It could be argued that MS never wrote anything of their own, ever.

MS are bullies -- most large entities are (remember Boss A?) -- and your approach to MS is a function of your approach to bullies in general. Either you rail against them, or you accept them."
[User Picture]
Date:October 29th, 2004 04:06 am (UTC)
BillG didn't think the Internet would take off; he thought the competition was the online service with the most members and the fastest growth curve at the time so it was AOL that MSN and Blackbird were intended to put out of business. But they've always bought in programs - like MultiPlan, so it sometimes works out.

I don't think any part of .NET was bought in. I think most of Windwos and NT and XP they wrote in house. THe *second* and later versions of everything they buy in.

Virtual Server; under development at Connectix, continued at Microsoft under the same software architect. Who does that count as being written by?
[User Picture]
Date:October 29th, 2004 04:30 am (UTC)

Windows cashpoints ...

[User Picture]
Date:October 29th, 2004 06:30 am (UTC)

Re: Windows cashpoints ...

Oh yes indeed. Thanks for the link!
Liam's Google Profile Powered by LiveJournal.com