Subject: Re: source access vs dynamism
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/09/05
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* David Thornley
| It never seemed to me to be more hackable than, say, TRS-DOS (I have no
| personal experience with the Apple OSes of the day).  It was more hacked,
| because it was more prevalent.  You're reversing cause and effect.

  I didn't say MORE hackable, I said its hackability.  sigh.  I'm saying
  that MS-DOS would not have become a winner in the market if it had been
  unhackable and people couldn't add fairly basic stuff to it and learn
  more about it -- it's the same argument people make about free software,
  for crying out loud!  if you don't think it mattered for MS-DOS, you
  should explain why the exact same thing is _the_ defining property of the
  success of free software in some people's mind.  initial deployment may
  well have been because of the "IBM" brand, but how many other products
  have had the "IBM" brand and _not_ become widely popular?  the efforts to
  explain the normal life of an IBM product fail utterly when that product
  became a NON-IBM product.

  I have to wonder, am I the only person left on this planet who remembers
  the computer magazines of the '80s?

| Not quite at first, IIRC.  I believe IBM would sell one of three OSes
| with the early PCs:  PC-DOS, CP/M-86, and the p-system.  MS-DOS was
| shipped as PC-DOS and was the default.

  there _was_ no MS-DOS at the start.  PC-DOS was a relabeling of QD-DOS
  (Quick and Dirty DOS) made by one of Bill Gates' early victims, and very
  little else.  it was basically a port of CP/M to the 8086 without the
  stupid incompatibilities that cost Digital Research their market position.

| If you don't like Microsoft, then you really should think about how much
| you want software companies to care about the bottom line.

  your decision to give Microsoft and Bill Gates your full moral support is
  not a necessary consequent of caring about the bottom line.  I suggest
  you think about how caring about ethics and legal business practices is
  not necessarily the detriment to success that it would have been if
  Microsoft had cared about them.

  I also don't think drug czars, pimps, extortionists, and porn makers are
  good models of how to make money, but there's no doubt that in each of
  these categories of "business", the bottom line is very well cared for.

  in case you haven't noticed, Bill Gates is actually defrauding people.
  most people who engage in fraud will make big money for a while -- if
  they had been utter, complete, and immediate failures, there would have
  been no incentive to make laws against fraud.

| >>   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.

| And why do they disregard every other market?

  I was talking about people who claim Bill Gates is next to God, not the
  people who buy his crapware, because they _are_ his market.  it's the
  people who argue _against_ creating software for something _other_ than
  the mass-market that Bill Gates controls that I'm interested in.  

| There have always been different operating systems and languages
| available, if you knew what you were doing and what you wanted.  For the
| individual purchaser, gaining the knowledge was generally a bad move.
| The result is that the market is dominated by people who really don't
| know what they're doing, and this is a bad thing in general.
| Unfortunate, but I don't have a fix for it.

  this is a twist on the old "but what can one man do?" argument, and it is
  just as invalid.  each man can do exactly what he wants.  conforming to
  the masses is a _choice_, and any other choice may be made.  the fix is
  therefore very simple: change your own ways, then change that of one more
  guy.  publicize your choice, understand what people base their decisions
  on, then do something that makes a few people notice.  you can't change
  the minds of millions of people at once, you have to change a few minds
  at a time, starting with yourself.  if you deny that that option exists,
  there is no fix for any problem at all, from _your_ perspective, that is.

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