[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: The "Vision" Thang, and Tales out of School...

At 9:48 PM -0700 9/9/97, Robert Hettinga wrote:
>At 11:21 pm -0400 on 9/9/97, Sean Roach wrote:
>> Gates?  The closest he had to a grand vision is being able to predict the
>> financial gain behind programming computers.
>Yes. And I'd call that a "grand vision", even in Tim's use of the phrase.
>He understood that computer software, and not the computer, especially in a
>world of microprocessors, was the most important part of the market. It
>might even be safe to say that BillG is responsible for at least the last
>10 years or so of Intel's existance...

Nonsense. A lot of those machines are running Linux, or other flavors of
Unix. And lots of other microprocessors comparable in every way to Intel's
processors are running the Mac OS, or some flavor of Unix, or whatever.

Had MS never existed, the world would still be consuming vast amounts of
microprocessors. Possibly more, many of us think.

( I use a Mac, as may be known to many of you. The issue of the OS is
separable from the issue of the processor...the Mac OS is no more tied to
the Motorola 680X0 than the MS OS is tied to the Intel x86. Indeed, the Mac
OS runs on the IBM/Motorola PowerPC, and the Windows NT OS runs on the DEC
Alpha (and used to run on the PPC).

>My understanding is that for all his apopletic "code reviews", Billzebub
>couldn't code his way out of a paper bag.

Also nonsense.

>Nonetheless, people who didn't share his "vision", like IBM, and DEC, and
>now Apple, and all the rest of his competition, got their clocks cleaned.

Utter nonsense. I lack the time to write about the early history of MS,
Seattle Computers, and Gary Kildall, but to make this claim above indicates
Bob is sacrificing objectivity for some sort of cheap shot in favor of MS.

I used to know Kildall, when he was hanging around Intel in the mid-70s,
and up until two weeks before his death. The situation was a lot more
nuanced than this "vision of Bill" argument suggests.

>Lot of dirty laundry there. Like the hint that Gates was actually thrown
>out of Harvard (well, "asked to leave", anyway, and all is certainly
>forgiven, now, after a $decamillion donation to the Harvard endowment...)
>because he used their computer resources, including their Zylog(?) chip
>emulator and PDP-11 BASIC source code to essentially port DEC BASIC to the
>Altair for resale. (Now what was that, Bill, about people duping *your*

Are you making this stuff up as you go along? You spout about the "vision
of Bill," but then you fantasize about how he and Paul got Altair Basic
out. As it happens, I also know the founders of Zilog, and the Z-80 was not
available at the time the Altair and IMSAI machines were gaining
popularity. (A friend of mine designed the IMSAI 8080, the first
semi-decent S-100 machine. I'm tempted to e-mail this fantasy to him and
give him his laugh for the evening.)

The larger issues of Bill Gates' contributions, or whatever, to the world
are much more nuanced than these fantasies would have it.

The issue of chip production is largely orthogonal to the issue of which OS
is being used. Like I said, if one believes the critics of Windows, Intel
would have sold _more_ chips had machines been less brain-damaged. Or maybe
it takes a 200 MHz Pentium Pro to make up for the inefficient OS.

But I won't buy the canonization of Bill Gates as the Engine of the
Revolution. If, as one wag put it, Princess Di was "Joan of Arc with a good
haircut," then does this make Bill Gates "Joan of Arc with a bad haircut"?

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected]  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."