Linus Torvalds on IA-64

Dark_Archonis

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This really angers me. Linus Torvalds doesn't know a thing about hardware. Check out this <A HREF="http://news.com.com/2100-1001-963447.html" target="_new">link</A> about Linux 2.6 and Torvald's opinion on IA-64. Here's a quote:

<b>Said by Linus Torvalds</b><i>
"I really dislike IA-64. I think it's a losing strategy," Torvalds said. "My personal hope is that IA-64 withers and dies because there's no point. It performs badly; it's expensive; it's an all-new instruction set."

"The reason Intel was so hugely successful was they went for the mass market, for normal users. They went for all the things that Intel stands for today," he said. AMD is staying truer to that philosophy, he said. "I find AMD's approach a lot more interesting, which is to replace a 32-bit Athlon with a 64-bit Athlon...They come from below and eat up all the high-performance big computers."
</i>

Low performing? "I hope it whithers and dies"? This is incredible. He doesn't even know whathe's talking about. He's been hypnotized by AMD fanboys about the so called "bad" performance of IA-64. Wow Linus, I wonder how "bad" it could be considering the Itanium 2 is currently one of the world's highest performing CPU's. And I really love this quote:

<i>"They went for all the things that Intel stands for today"</i>

So, Linus, you're saying Intel stands for "mass market"? It's like he totally ignores the fact that Intel made alot of success with it's Xeons in the corporate & server world, not to mention that Intel is known for it's high quality CPU's, not to mention very reliable and very stable components. Seriously, I believe Linus doesn't even know what he's talking about.

I'm not that surprised really. Most Linux users despise Intel. In fact, alot of rabid AMD fanboys use Linux, since it's free, and open-source.

i know that this is one big ramble, but I would just like to point out that how misinformed some people in the industry really are.



- - -
<font color=green>All good things must come to an end … so they can be replaced by better things! :wink: </font color=green>
 

spud

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Linus is a fraud and a thief he stole the uniqueness of Unix and perverted it with Linux. And the plague is moving to Microsoft with Lindows and many other rip off imitation breeds. I personally would punch the dude in the head and tell him to find a more constructive hobby than stealing ideas and technologies and hiding it all behind the open source crap.

MS is right Linux is a cancer that is ever growing. It's imitation crap and that’s all it will ever be.

-Jeremy

<font color=blue>Just some advice from your friendly neighborhood blue man </font color=blue> :smile:
 

vacs

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it's quite easy to understand Torvald's statement, as he says he rather codes for some additional 64-bit extensions as rewriting the whole linux kernel for the ia-64.

That's all to understand. Concerning the 64-bit performance, there is no existing or upcoming CPU matching the speed of the Itanium II. The only problem (although a major one) is that Itaniums are expensive to buy and to code for since no one really has much experience in this domain. Unfortunately though because this CPU could be killer CPU if right software support was there.

AMD and Linux have indeed some close relation together since both are cheap to get...
 

ejsmith2

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I would also like to point out how happy I am with Mandrake 9.0RC2 on a P266 laptop.

I'm also quite happy with WinXP on my GA-7VAXP system.

Ntel is my bitch. So is AMD, msft, and Linus.

I make them *ALL* suck it down...

"I personally think filesystems should be rewritten from scratch every 5 years..." --- Hans Reiser
 

Victory

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Many a same person has said the same about Microsoft stealing the Mac OS system many many years ago. :)


:cool: Save heating costs on your home, overclock your PC!!! :cool:
 

spud

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Then what the hell are Alpha, SPARC, MIPS, and POWER going for 12 bucks those CPU's cost a heck of a lot more than a bloddy Itaimium. Thats Intels thing right now they are undercutting these larger (as in dominate server market CPU's) to get their foot in the door.

-Jeremy

<font color=blue>Just some advice from your friendly neighborhood blue man </font color=blue> :smile:
 

imgod2u

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It's kinda surprising seeing someone who's spent considerable time in assembly to praise anything x86. If anything he should be blessing whatever powers there be that something has finally come along that doesn't offer as many headaches as x86. I think he may be just pissed because IA-64 goes away from the concept of having asm programmers hand-code and insteads leans towards better compilers.

"We are Microsoft, resistance is futile." - Bill Gates, 2015.
 

Kelledin

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It's kinda surprising seeing someone who's spent considerable time in assembly to praise anything x86. If anything he should be blessing whatever powers there be that something has finally come along that doesn't offer as many headaches as x86. I think he may be just pissed because IA-64 goes away from the concept of having asm programmers hand-code and insteads leans towards better compilers.
Linus doesn't care too much for hand-coded assembly. That's why most of the Linux kernel is in C.

As for leaning towards better compilers, where are "good compilers" going to come from?

Maybe you haven't noticed this, but gcc (the de facto open-source compiler) is kind of a dog for architecture-specific optimizations, and that's just with its most common target, x86. With other architectures, optimization is even worse.

Sure, Intel makes a very good x86 Linux compiler, but people using it for the purpose of making money have to pay for it. It's the same for Compaq's Linux-targeted Alpha compiler. It's likely to be the same for Intel's IA64 compiler.

People using free open-source software are reluctant to pay for a compiler to build this software from source. Their software cost is already zero, and there's a mental block that bean-counters have against going from zero cost on something to even a few dollars. Some people are reluctant to build from source anyhow, since it takes a lot more time, tools, and disk space than just installing a precompiled binary.

This leaves a lot of open-source developers <i>having</i> to hand-code assembly to get halfway-decent performance out of IA64, just because the majority of their target userbase isn't going to be using a good optimizing compiler. Maybe that's what worries Linus...

<i>I can love my fellow man...but I'm damned if I'll love yours.</i>
 

eden

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Woah man chill, you're about to get an epilepsy after someone badmouthed something from Intel!

While I agree the guy doesn't seem to be right, after all x86 is just not flexible really, if the guy is the one who made his own open source OS, then perhaps, JUST perhaps he knows and may have experienced to know that x86 is still the best architecture for his software. I mean the guy should know more than anybody about his creation.

However his words are clearly harsh, and he should restrain and be more professional than wishing a good architecture to die.

--
I guess I just see the world from a fisheye. -Eden
 

SammyBoy

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Well, you kind of have to realize that the name of the game is to steal the good technology to replace old/aging/bad technology. Windows stole its GUI from Apple, and Apple stole it from Xerox. Intel practices such cutthroat business strategies; most recently the "theft" of certain logic designs from Intergraph for the Itanium 2. AMD lived off of Intel for years until the K7 (K6 really wasn't much to be proud of, besides the fact that it was not a strict clone of the 586), and much of the designs for the K7 came from a company that was bought and looted by AMD. Industral espionage, reverse engineering, and dirty tricks are what allows the strong to seperate themselves from the weak. Is it wrong? Morally, I'd say yes, but it does consolidate the power into an elite few who are so hellbent on domination that they will fight all the harder to stay ahead of whats left of the competition (or in the case of MS, prevent competition from appearing). Those are traits we look for in our business leaders, so to condemn such actions brands us all hypocrites.

As to the assertion that Linux is a cancer, I disagree. MS is its current form is more of a cancer, as it hides behind EULAs and shady legal manuvers to prevent anyone from even getting a glimpse of what the Windows OS is. Add to that the overly destructive business practices of MS over the last decade (well... even earlier, but mostly stuff that went on in the 90s), and we are stuck with one OS that just adequately performs. Yes, I realize that OSes are hard to code, etc., but DOS was a stable OS (as far as I remember). Competition, my friend, is what gives you processors that are hitting 3GHz, and technologies like Hyperthreading (another stolen/liberated technology), Hypertransport (a technology developed by a group then hijacked by AMD), and x86-64 and IA-64 (both of which have dubious roots, at least in terms of who is responsible for them originally).

The fact that Linux builds are getting more Windows like in terms of user interface is both bad and good. Command-line OSes seem to be the most stable and secure OSes, and adding GUIs always complicates matters and compromises security (it's so much easier to find and fiddle with "hidden" functions in a GUI enviroment than a command-line enviroment). The fact that Linux GUIs resemble Windows is a testament to the near univeral saturation of Windows in the computer world, and the comfort people have with using it. MS, who should see this as a noble challenge to their throne, would be better served to meet this challenger in such a way that benefits the end-user in terms of security, performance, and features. Instead they resort to namecalling and mudslinging, much like school childern or politicians. There is nothing wrong with open-source. It empowers people, as well as makes the more paranoid among us feel secure, since they can add their own changes.

And as to Linus, I thought that UNIX was open-source anyway, used by universities and companies to communicate freely without having to worry about compatability problems. Therefore, what Linus did was not theft, but what any other person with source code would do. Make it better.

-SammyBoy

Some day, THG-willing, I shall obtain the coveted "Old Hand" title.
 

SammyBoy

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Two more little things... apparently, RealNetworks announced today (10/29) that they will be opening up the source code for some products <A HREF="http://www.realnetworks.com/index.html?lang=en&loc=us&src=021008realhome_mac" target="_new">here</A>.

And the US Military was told by it's consulting group that FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) is a viable alternative to anything else out there.

-SammyBoy

Some day, THG-willing, I shall obtain the coveted "Old Hand" title.
 

Spitfire_x86

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I would like to see all technical crap die. IA-64, Rambus, DVD Audio, SACD (Super Audio CD) all are crap. Rambus is already dead. IA-64 must die like Rambus.

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Spitfire_x86

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Woah man chill, you're about to get an epilepsy after someone badmouthed something from Intel!
This is exactly what I was trying to say.

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Spitfire_x86

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Linux is not a cancer. If there's any cancer in the software industry that is MS. It's unfortunate that Linux is not the AMD for MS. I hope Linux or any free/very cheap OS to be 100% compatible with Windows apps in near future.

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slvr_phoenix

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Should I even bother? Who knows... This reply isn't to anyone in specific. I just wanted to throw out a few things.

1) Windows wasn't stolen, Mac wasn't stolen, Amiga Workbench (that's the right name, right?) wasn't stolen, etc., etc. At the time that GUIs were being started, the concept for them had been around and around on all sorts of platforms in all sorts of incarnations. Even my C=64 had a GUI built into one of my carts. Do you know how many OEMs practiacally sold their machines through the use of customized DOS shells? (The ASCII-based and/or CGA, mcga, etc.-based predecessors to Windows.) You can't say that ANY <b>one</b> organization invented the GUI. It was just a concept that spread like wildfire one day and <b>everyone</b> rushed to develop theirs and make theirs the best. Some survived by coming out first. Some survived by being well designed. Some just survived due to lack of competition. None of them were stolen though. They were all uniquely developed.

2) Linux on the other hand is a lot of 'stolen' technology. Only the technology was free, so it's hard to call that stolen. Linux was the direction that Unix feared to tread. It was a good idea. Too bad there's so much squabbling amongst the Linux community that it's taken Linux so long to even get where it is today. Chances are, it'll still take a while before it can really match Windows.

3) Believe it or not, Microsoft actually has done a <b>LOT</b> to improve both security and stability. The problem is that these are both things that aren't readily visible and can be easily compramised by third-party products. Software, hardware, drivers, these can all kill both security and stability if you use crap. If you look at Windows 2000 compared to Windows 95, you'll notice one hell of an improvement in both security and stability. WinXP is even better. (Though not by much.)

The difference between Windows and Linux is that Windows has been significantly re-written (in part or in whole) for almost every release of Windows. (Almost because 95b and 98SE were primarily just bug fixes.) Linux has generally remained the same code base, just slowly upgraded over the years. So each new version of Linux isn't a significant code change over the last version.

MS has put an awful lot more manhours into Windows code than Linux programmers have put into Linux. It shows. (Though lately is starting to show less and less.) <b>That's</b> why Windows is so commonly used.

4) Linus Torvalds can go suck himself for all I care. So long as real programmers work on both the x86-64 and IA-64 side of things, I'm content.

IA-64 has it's merits and to whine so much means he obviously doesn't have a clue. Especially when it's x86-64 that he's praising. He only likes x86-64 because even a braindead stoned monkey could program for it if they already know enough to slap out a 32-bit x86 program. If he were to actually try using IA-64, he'd have to bother learning and maybe even thinking for a change. So it's no wonder he's opposed.

5) No matter how much MS tries, Windows will always suck compared to what it could/should be. Why? Because Gates has always been a fool and the whole company is founded on that. He may be a rich fool, but he's still a no-talent hack that never really had a clue what he was doing. He just got lucky was all.

6) Chocobos rule!

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spud

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No talent hack... I strongly disagree with you there slvr. Bill Gates less all his faults and mistakes is a perfect example of what Corporate America should be. Cut throat, aggressive, undermining, and deceptive. He has us on a leash with every new feature in Windows causes us to drool at the mouth. His business tactics and maneuvers are world class. He is as far as I’m concerned a business genius and world class CEO.

-Jeremy


<font color=blue>Just some advice from your friendly neighborhood blue man </font color=blue> :smile:
 

Kelledin

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1) <i>Ippon, phoenix-san.</i>

2) Actually, Linux development is <i>fast</i>. In just a few years, it went from having almost no SMP support to having very good SMP that scales well to 4 CPUs (and even scales a bit to 8-way)--thus surpassing Windows NT in the one of the few areas where Windows could claim a performance advantage. It's leapfrogging the BSDs already; with 2.6 (linuxthreads2, even better VM, maybe Reiser4), that leapfrog will be complete.

3) Hmmmm...<i>wazari</i> for you, phoenix-san. Win2K is a big improvement; it's a rock-solid piece of software which (for the most part) is secure if you just stay on top of patches. Trusted Computing is more-or-less a joke, but most of us knew it was just marketing.

WinXP is not really much of an improvement though, and it lacks the maturity of Win2K.

4) That doesn't really wash, because the kernel supports some fourteen-odd other architectures besides x86.

This goes back to my last post. IA64 needs excellent C/C++ compilers to perform well, or it needs hand-coded assembly. And if compilers have to be uber-intelligent to wring performance out of IA64, imagine how hand-coded assembly will have to be.

Not to mention which, nobody seems to want IA64 much. Some people get interested, try it, then most turn it down for various reasons (usually power-related reasons--Itanium2 is still dreadfully inefficient in this regard). Linus has quite enough work on his plate without being pressured to support yet another approach to the same old problems, especially when that approach is having a hard time finding a niche.

"Hello, Dave. How would you like to skin your cat today?"

5) <i>Ippon.</i>

6) <i>...Wazari</i>. I remember having to chase those bastards around in FFVIII. :tongue:

<i>I can love my fellow man...but I'm damned if I'll love yours.</i>
 

ejsmith2

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Wow.

I must say, I pretty much read the first post, and chalked it up on my "Troll Post" list. Made my standard troll reply, and bailed.

But this has turned into a full fledged discussion. I'm like, feeling harshed over here.

Everyone has brought up good points. About the only "real" thing I can say is Linus did the whole GPL thing for a reason. Of course he's going to say he doesn't like IA-64.

But when the market decides what to do with IA-64, you can bet Linux kernals will go with the decision.

"I personally think filesystems should be rewritten from scratch every 5 years..." --- Hans Reiser
 

slvr_phoenix

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Ach, Japanese! I suddenly feel so culturally inept. I haven't even watched any subtitled anime in years. (Though I did just recently watch an English-dubbed Project A-Ko. That movie is just too darn funny.)

2) Actually, Linux development is fast. In just a few years, it went from having almost no SMP support to having very good SMP that scales well to 4 CPUs (and even scales a bit to 8-way)--thus surpassing Windows NT in the one of the few areas where Windows could claim a performance advantage. It's leapfrogging the BSDs already; with 2.6 (linuxthreads2, even better VM, maybe Reiser4), that leapfrog will be complete.
It has sped up recently, which I suspect is due largely to corporate investment into Linux. It's still lagging behind in a few areas though. (Mostly in apps, but still a few things in the OS that need work too.) I bet in a couple more years Linux will finally be ready to replace Windows, but that might just be an insane hope.

Trusted Computing is more-or-less a joke, but most of us knew it was just marketing.
Heh heh. Only more or less? I thought that it <i>was</i> a joke! :)

WinXP is not really much of an improvement though, and it lacks the maturity of Win2K.
I thought that WinXP was mostly the Win2K kernel with some added eye candy, user management, and a dash of new communication protocol improvements. True, I suppose it isn't much of an improvement for people who are using Win2K. Since it's heavily targetted at home users though, I think it is a pretty solid improvement over 9x and ME. But I suppose you're right, it's really more like just an enhancement to 2K.

4) That doesn't really wash, because the kernel supports some fourteen-odd other architectures besides x86.
You do have a point there and frankly that has left me a bit puzzled. However, I suspect that most if not all of those architectures follow certain primary functionality rules that are similar to x86 so that for the most part, all you need is either a compiler for that platform or at most a few minor code changes. IA-64 on the other hand sounds a lot more complex to crossover to.

Not to mention which, nobody seems to want IA64 much. Some people get interested, try it, then most turn it down for various reasons (usually power-related reasons--Itanium2 is still dreadfully inefficient in this regard). Linus has quite enough work on his plate without being pressured to support yet another approach to the same old problems, especially when that approach is having a hard time finding a niche.
I suppose that's true enough. Itanum still has to work out a few hardware issues. Still, if you have entire software development teams devoted to putting Linux on the Dreamcast or an XBox then I don't see why supporting IA-64 should be ignored or put down just because there aren't many people who would use it. I think the unnoficial motto for Linux has been "We're better because we can do ANYTHING when we put our minds to it." So to turn around and shun IA-64 seems rather ... odd.

6) ...Wazari. I remember having to chase those bastards around in FFVIII.
FF Tactics is the nastiest when it comes to Chocobos. Those little buggers can be nasty. Still, I like 'em. I also love how every version of FF has had specialized chocobo music based on the original chocobo music. That's just cool. I should burn a CD of just variations on the same chocobo music. :)

It makes one wonder though... I mean FF has had the dragoon/lancer concept for pretty much as long as they've had the concept for the chocobo. Yet I can't recall them ever being combined. I wonder why you never see a chocobo knight with a lance, doing charges and jumps to shove that lance in hard...

**shrug**

Oh well.

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slvr_phoenix

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No talent hack... I strongly disagree with you there slvr. Bill Gates less all his faults and mistakes is a perfect example of what Corporate America should be. Cut throat, aggressive, undermining, and deceptive. He has us on a leash with every new feature in Windows causes us to drool at the mouth. His business tactics and maneuvers are world class. He is as far as I’m concerned a business genius and world class CEO.
Well, I disagree. Microsoft started out by stealing other people's code and disassembling it. This continued on through MS DOS6. Heck, most of the good features of MS DOS were contracted out instead of developed in house. On top of that plenty of other versions of DOS were considerably better. There were even versions of DOS that allowed multitasking while MS DOS didn't. That doesn't sound much like talent to me.

Windows was quite possibly the first time that MS even did something halfway right. However there MS just plain got lucky. There were other GUI projects from other companies, but for some reason Windows was the one that stuck.

Ever since then MS has been in a unique position with hardly a challenge to their presence. That's not skill. That's not talent. That's just plain dumb luck. Microsoft got lucky at <i>just</i> the right time and has been riding the wave of that luck since. If any company in the world had even close to the same resources and wanted to take over the x86 software world, they'd be able to do so. Why? Because MS is so mis-managed and poorly run. They piss off their customers. They put out faulty products. It can't go on like that for too much longer before something finally changes.

That's not genius. That's not being a world-class CEO. That's just plain dumb luck. That's how I see it anyway. MS is mostly just a company of clowns in charge of some probably very good software engineers, and Gates is just the red-nosed floppy-shoed ring leader.

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slvr_phoenix

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But when the market decides what to do with IA-64, you can bet Linux kernals will go with the decision.
Very true. As I said, I really don't care what Linus says or does because in the end, he's mostly just a figure head and at some time, someone <i>will</i> pick up any balls that he drops.

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imgod2u

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Well, I disagree. Microsoft started out by stealing other people's code and disassembling it. This continued on through MS DOS6. Heck, most of the good features of MS DOS were contracted out instead of developed in house. On top of that plenty of other versions of DOS were considerably better. There were even versions of DOS that allowed multitasking while MS DOS didn't. That doesn't sound much like talent to me.
DOS was bought with full rights.

Well, I disagree. Microsoft started out by stealing other people's code and disassembling it. This continued on through MS DOS6. Heck, most of the good features of MS DOS were contracted out instead of developed in house. On top of that plenty of other versions of DOS were considerably better. There were even versions of DOS that allowed multitasking while MS DOS didn't. That doesn't sound much like talent to me.
M$ was the only one to mass-market a GUI-based OS to IBM's now open design philosophy (nowadays known as PC's). Apple kept their OS closed and exclusive to their own computers and so did many other companies.

Ever since then MS has been in a unique position with hardly a challenge to their presence. That's not skill. That's not talent. That's just plain dumb luck. Microsoft got lucky at just the right time and has been riding the wave of that luck since. If any company in the world had even close to the same resources and wanted to take over the x86 software world, they'd be able to do so. Why? Because MS is so mis-managed and poorly run. They piss off their customers. They put out faulty products. It can't go on like that for too much longer before something finally changes.
As I said above, Windows was marketed correctly and it goes a long way towards why it was accepted. You'll find that in business, the business part usually means a lot more than the quality of products part. If you can market something better, it doesn't have to be the best product to sell. Bill Gates, for all his flaws as an engineer, is a great business man. While Steve Jobs recklessly sold his stock and later got kicked out of Apple, Gates has always been in full command of his company. He hired the right business people to help them compete on a marketing level with other companies and has not once let someone else gain control. That's not luck, that's the type of greedy, cut-throat and dare I say it, genius type of tactic that is the epitome of a capitalistic (and yes that's what we are, don't let any afterschool special tell you otherwise) society.
The fact that Windows isn't the best product out there means almost nothing. It's marketed well, it's got enough shiny things with every release to get people interested and it manages to require you to use it despite the fact that you are not entirely satisfied with it. In the end, the business end means much more. And for that, Gates has performed magnificently.

"We are Microsoft, resistance is futile." - Bill Gates, 2015.
 

slvr_phoenix

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DOS was bought with full rights.
Uh huh. And that's why Microsoft was in court time and time again and even after DOS 6 had to release a sudden 'upgrade' (actually downgrade) to DOS 6.22 because they had illegally labelled and distributed other people's works.

MS DOS was founded on thievery and misrepresentation of other people's work, and ended in the same way. And through it all, MS was contracting out the parts that they either couldn't do or didn't want to learn to do. So not only did MS engage in quasi-legal to illegal practices from the very beginning, but they didn't even have the skill and manpower to do all of their own work.

M$ was the only one to mass-market a GUI-based OS to IBM's now open design philosophy (nowadays known as PC's).
Actually, that's not true. Others also tried to sell GUI-based DOS shells. (As opposed to the miriad of ASCII-based DOS shells that had existed long before Windows.) Some of the ones that existed when Windows first came out weren't as robust, this is true. And some of the ones that came out afterwords weren't as buggy. Why Windows survived and caught on where others just remained quaint toy utilities baffled people then, and still baffles those who remember it now. It was a fluke that gave MS the resources to improve their GUI exponentially faster than everyone else's DOS shells, graphical or text based. And that's all that Windows was up until Win95 was just a gloridied DOS shell. Until then it was just an added layer upon the actual operating system, MS DOS.

Apple kept their OS closed and exclusive to their own computers and so did many other companies.
Apple, Amiga, and even Microsoft have kept their OS closed and exclusive to specific hardware types. You can't load Windows onto an Amiga. You can't load Workbench onto a Mac. It wasn't the 'openness' of the OS that won PCs over everything else. It was the hardware. You can't go and praise Microsoft for PCs becoming widespread when it wasn't even a matter of software. Gates had <i>nothing</i> to do with that.

As I said above, Windows was marketed correctly and it goes a long way towards why it was accepted. You'll find that in business, the business part usually means a lot more than the quality of products part. If you can market something better, it doesn't have to be the best product to sell. Bill Gates, for all his flaws as an engineer, is a great business man. While Steve Jobs recklessly sold his stock and later got kicked out of Apple, Gates has always been in full command of his company. He hired the right business people to help them compete on a marketing level with other companies and has not once let someone else gain control. That's not luck, that's the type of greedy, cut-throat and dare I say it, genius type of tactic that is the epitome of a capitalistic (and yes that's what we are, don't let any afterschool special tell you otherwise) society.
Sorry, but that's an overly-idealistic way of looking at it. Windows for some reason caught on where other graphical and text DOS shells hadn't. It wasn't marketting. It wasn't the product's superiority. It just happened because the stars happened to be right one day or something equally unfathomable. Windows 1.0 just caught on because <i>someone</i> had to be the standard and it fell into Microsoft's lap.

With the resources that they got from the increase of sales they were able to make better and better versions than Windows 1.0. Soon this re-investment back into development allowed them to outpace the development of all of the other shells and that just gave MS even more sales. By then, yes, MS was doing well in both marketting and product development. But then what company <i>wouldn't</i> do well? As the Windows snowball kept rolling down that hill, outpacing the other snowballs, it became a monster that no one could stop. Any idiot could have run a company to do that had they gotten the same break. It doesn't take skill to ride a winning horse.

The fact that Windows isn't the best product out there means almost nothing. It's marketed well, it's got enough shiny things with every release to get people interested and it manages to require you to use it despite the fact that you are not entirely satisfied with it. In the end, the business end means much more. And for that, Gates has performed magnificently.
That's why there are tons of people who didn't sign up with Microsoft's latest upgrade regime. That's why so many people are purposely avoiding Windows XP. That's why so many Windows XP users are growing more and more frustrated with Microsoft. That's why most people haven't upgraded Windows or Office in ages. For most people, the prices are too high and the actual benefit that they get out of the upgrade just isn't worth it.

That snowball's run is petering out. Microsoft itself is pissing off so many customers that many of their former customers are now happy to either not upgrade at all or switch to Linux. The only real areas where Microsoft is still winning is OEM sales, and even many OEMs are getting awfully sick of the Microsoft bullying and paying for licenses that they can't even sell.

No, Microsoft has been slowly but surely run into the ground over the last two years, if not longer. They've made bad management decision after bad management decision. At this rate, various flavors of Linux (probably mostly ones like Lindows, Xandros, etc. that support Windows software to some degree) will start to take away massive market share from Microsoft in five years or less, depending on both how well Linux improves to become easy to install and use, and how badly Microsoft pisses people off.

The reaction has already started. It just depends upon what catalysts occur before critical mass is reached. And why is this? Because Gates isn't the veritable managerial god that some people see him as. He's human, just like the rest of us. He makes mistakes. He gets taken in by greed and power and believes that he's less replacable than he actually is.

**shrug** It happens.

If Gates were every bit as good as you think he is though, then Linux wouldn't even be a threat. It would be just as much a threat as BSD, Unix, Solaris, Mac OS, etc. (Or in other words, it wouldn't be any threat at all.)

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