Chaos Manor Mail

Mail 75 November 15 - 21, 1999

Dear Dr. Pournelle:

Thank you for your balanced and intelligent analysis of the "Microsoft Decision".

As a techno-brat of the 70's, I graduated an electronics tech just when Popular Electronics published a story about a home built computer called the Mark-8 (I still have the plans I bought by mail for the Mark-8). I have worked and lived PCs my entire adult life. (my first PC was the Processor Technology SOL-10)

I observed and noted all of what you report and I have to say you have stated clearly an accurate analysis of the last 20 years. We both know there was much more but you effectively covered all the significant points.

My only contribution would be to highlight the inefficacy of litigious tilting in relation to computer development. What comes to mind are the time and resources poured into such events as the Ashton-Tate dBase nightmare, the Lotus 1-2-3 look &; feel case, the Apple Vs Microsoft GUI case, the self immolation of VisiCalc and the Stax Vs Microsoft debacle. The volatility of software evolution and hardware innovation effectively made mote all the legal decisions and remedies.

In the category of major fumbles, how about CP/M Vs DOS as the primary OS for IBM's new PC ~1980? Makes one stop and think.

I acknowledge, appreciate and applaud the tremendous leadership Bill Gates has provided in IT and do not wish to see his efforts punished. I also regard Mr. Gates to be an honorable and compassionate man who has succeeded beyond all expectation in a cut-throat take-no-prisoners business. (Have you ever heard Larry Ellison speak? Chilling!)

My solution: no Baby Bill's, medium fine payable to fund alternate OS development, disclosure of all secret APIs and free IE/OE for the xBSDs and Linux. The last is probably not a practical method of relief but it would be nice.

My choice of server technology in the SOHO to medium sized IT operation, Slackware Linux! My GUI office desktop, W98-IE/OE4.01 (I say 4.01 because 5.x is broken) and KDE-Netscape on Slackware Linux. My games desktop, W98-2. My development environment, Slackware Linux all the way (have yet to lose anything as a result of an OS failure). I have run both cable (2 years) and ADSL (6 months) and prefer ADSL on which I run numerous numerous Linux servers 24/7/52+leap.

On a personal note, I grew up reading Robert Heinlein and know of your friendship. I consider his fictional characters members of the family and valued role models. (no I don't actually see them) I also consider "The Mote in Gods Eye" to be one of the great stories of science fiction. I own a hardcover and a dog eared soft-cover copy.

Thank you again for "Chaos Manor" and your wonderful SF novels. I wish you and your family good health, good work and good play.

Best regards,

Brian Thurston

Copyright 1999