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Plea for help: The detriment of using Microsoft products

I'm reading a great book called "The Software Conspiracy."  It's not 
about a true conspiracy, but about why so much software is bad.  The 
author, Mark Minasi, points out something very interesting.  Boeing
jets are extremely complex, requiring hundreds of thousands, if not
millions of parts, each of which must do its job correctly.  The
odds are that there are flaws in the jets.  Yet, as recent actions
involving the Boeing 737 show, Boeing is held legally and financially
liable for the performance of their airplanes.  The software industry  
argues that, with products of similar complexity, they CANNOT be held
liable. Why?  Another example he shows is that, assuming that Word is
made as reliable as shuttle software, assuming it costs 100 times as
much per line of code as what the shuttle software cost, it would
result in Word costing $200 / copy.  My original degree is in
Aeronautics & Astronautics.  Every plane, every satellite, the
blueprints & design documents are reviewed at multiple levels,
including outside the company.  Boeing makes those blueprints
available to the companies that service their aircraft, along with
tons of documents on how to repair the aircraft.  They make excellent
money building aircraft.  Yet, they know they had better build safe
aircraft, because if a design flaw kills someone, they WILL PAY.

To give 2 examples of MS behavior (not in the book, but related to
the recent stuff):
1.  Gartner says MS was informed over 3 years ago that Outlook, as
configured, would create the kind of problems that happened with the 
ILUVYOU bug.  MS did nothing, and still refuses to admit ANY guilt.  
Note that Ford, when they mis-designed the Pinto, were informed of
the problem, and did nothing to fix it, were held accountable (to
the tune of millions of dollars).  I view MS's liability as no less
than Ford's.  
2.  MS was found to have a monopoly in the desktop OS market, and
found guilty of illegally using the monopoly to extend into the
browser market (Finding of Fact on the first, non-appealable, Finding
of Law on the second).   Right now, they are tying their desktop
(Windows 2000) to their server (Windows 2000 Server), such that, for the
desktop to function correctly in a network requires a Windows 2000
server (MS has 38% of the server market, not a monopoly).  So, in the
middle of a trial about their violations of the Sherman Act, they
continue similar acts.  Note that, in order to show that they are
"open" they release their Kerberos extension under a "look but don't
touch" license, claim trade secrets a document that they release on
the internet (Trade Secret requires reasonable attempts to secure the
secret, I find it hard to believe publishing on the internet counts).
3.  Speaking of the MS trial, note that MS placed on the stand
witnesses that lied (in court, under oath, on matters of direct
relevence to the case in question, to a federal judge), MS management
knew and helped them build the fraudulant "test videotape," MS has
refused to acknowledge the lies, contending that there was a
"difference of interpretation" (as in, we made it up, we knew we made
it up, but that doesn't make it a lie).  

THIS is the arrogance of MS.  MS who's motto was "A computer on every
desktop, running NOTHING BUT Microsoft software" (emphasis added).  As
I have said elsewhere, the laws are clear (Sherman and Clayton act),
are not new (Sherman Act passed in 1890), HAVE BEEN APPLIED TO THE
COMPUTER INDUSTRY IN THE PAST! (IBM, released from their consent
decree in the 1980's, AT&T, because, among other things, they wanted 
to get into the computer business.  Sorry for the yelling, but I
keep hearing how "the software industry is unique," and "the law has 
never been applied to the software industry."  Wrong on both
accounts). Given their motto, it was incumbent on them to find out
what the law was and follow it.  I do NOT believe their lawyers are so
incompetent as to not know the law.  I do believe MS is so arrogant
that they believe the law should notapply to them.

And this is a company people want to do business with?


Jeffry Smith      Technical Sales Consultant     Mission Critical Linux
smith at phone:978.446.9166,x271 fax:978.446.9470
Thought for today:  Between infinite and short there is a big difference.
		-- G.H. Gonnet

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