Subject: Re: source access vs dynamism
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/08/30
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Erik Naggum
| let me put it this way: I dread the situation where software is written
| by people who are satisfied with name recognition and status among their
| peers -- we'll just get MS-DOS all over again.

* Erann Gat
| I don't know what planet you're living on,

  I didn't know there were any alternatives, but I'll gladly yield to your
  superior experience.

| the people who brought us MS-DOS were definitely not content with mere
| name recognition and status among their peers.

  ignorance of the MS-DOS success story is beginning to become a problem,
  but I thought it was hard for anyone here to be completely clueless.
  what made MS-DOS a success was its hackability.  yes, you read that
  right.  if you don't believe me, go back to the computer magazines of the
  early eighties and read about hijacking system calls, installing device
  drivers, faking networks, getting "undelete" to work because the stupid
  file system only nuked the first byte of a file's name, but left the
  index blocks intact, etc, etc.  people who did this stuff talked among
  their peers, and got a whole lot of name recognition.  the only guy who
  really did make money on this was Peter Norton with his Norton Utilities.

  no source was ever necessary, by the way.  people could read assembly
  language back then, and it was written in assembly language, anyway.

| Microsoft got where it is precisely because Bill Gates is the good
| businessman you wish other computer scientists would be.

  *puke*  _you_ really must be from a different planet.  Bill Gates is the
  single most dishonest and despicable man on the planet, not because he's
  rich, which is a function of stupid people who continue to buy from him
  and that's their fault, not his, but because he cannot be trusted at all,
  and he keeps rewriting history to make himself _so_ good, when in fact he
  began by lying through his teeth to the Altair guy, and that lie told
  young Bill Gates at an impressionable age that only suckers are honest.
  he also stole computer time from Harvard and got away with it, which is
  also important in someone's formative years.  he's nothing but a crook.

  I hope no person ever will emulate what made him successful: fraudulent
  marketing and pie-in-the-sky promises that he never kept.  he's not
  decent and upright like Coca-Cola Company who sell an image but make
  people pay for a basically worthless softdrink.  Bill Gates capitalizes
  on people's hopes for the future by making sure that he never gives
  anyone enough, because that'll make them stop wanting to buy the next
  version.  it should be enough to mention the "success" of the early
  Windows operating system for people who aren't just visiting from an
  alien planet and pronounce their judgment in a total vacuum of knowledge
  of history.  the stability of the Windows API should be evidence enough
  for those whose memory cells only hold a single years' worth of changes.

| It rankles Bill severely that people think Microsoft isn't innovative.

  ha!  obviously not enough to make it innovative, which isn't _that_ hard.

| It's predictable because the profit motive is fundamentally at odds with
| quality.

  come again?  on this planet, this actually translates to "quality is
  fundamentally at odds with what people are willing to well pay for".

| You lose money when you try to increase quality past the point of
| diminishing returns, which, by definition, is the point where the
| majority of your customers stop caring.

  this and the above taken together must mean that "quality" is inherently
  meaningless until you _pass_ the point of diminishing returns, and this
  means (through your correct definition) that quality is _defined_ as that
  which the majority doesn't care about.

  well, doh, if quality is _defined_ to be more than anyone is willing to
  pay for, of course it isn't profitable to make anything of "quality".

  please reconsider your definitions.  it isn't your view of the profit
  motive that is at odds with reality, it's the stupid and arrogant belief
  that all people want to pay for is non-quality products.

| And most people have pretty low
| standards.  The only way to get better than the least common denominator
| is to find a motivation other than money, whether it's status, an
| artistic passion, or simply an innate desire to do the Right Thing.

  it must be hard on an alien on a tourist visa, but here on earth, we have
  this concept of _different_ markets, each with its local value of the
  least common denominator, because each market addresses different people
  with different needs.

  the mass market is _not_ the only market.  the only thing we can say for
  sure in this business about those who believe that is that Bill Gates
  profits even more by having as many people disregard every other market.

  but I gotta give Bill Gates this: not since Joseph Göbbels has any one
  man been able to lead so many people right into such a disastrous future.
  (keep in mind that I admire Joseph Göbbels for his work and his insight
  into good propaganda, which virtually every marketing person on earth
  employ: he was the first propaganda minister to understand that you can
  accomplish more through entertainment than with information, but I still
  think it's truly horrible that the West had to invent modern marketing
  just as it destroyed a nation and caused the deaths of millions of
  people, but there is no doubt about it: withour Joseph Göbbels' efforts
  in the last few weeks of the war to keep up the spirits of the people and
  to exploit their last remnants of a belief in a better future, just like
  Bill Gates keeps doing, a tremendous amount of suffering could easily
  have been avoided.)

  save the children: just say NO to sex with pro-lifers