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    Posted: 02 July 2001 10:36 PM #31

    This debate (and talking with David Nelson about it) reminded me of this great piece from the Wall Street Journal.  This is going back about 5-6 years.

    The article was about how Russia was (is) struggling with transitioning to a “free market” economy.  It also dealt with many other cultural issues such as the Eastern Orthodox Church *resenting* the fact that they faced competition in the form of the Mormons and evangelical Christian groups sheening in and recruiting heavily.  It seems they liked being a State tolerated monopoly. 

    But I digress…

    Getting back to my point, part of the article included comments from an ex-Communist Party leader (local level) who felt that it was better for the government to handle many issues of business.  His example, and this is a VERY close quote though it’s been a while:

    “Take this bottle of water,” he said while holding up a local brand of bottled water. “Somebody has to figure out how many bottles to make and how many labels to print.  These are not things that an entrepreneur can handle.  He needs the government to help him with it.”

    I still get irate when I think about that, which must be why I remember it so clearly.  Now, I realize that no one in this thread is suggesting ANYTHING like government run businesses, but I think the idea of State sanctioned document formats comes way too close as it is.

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    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

         
  • Posted: 02 July 2001 10:42 PM #32

    The government doesn’t need to help people be entrepeneurs. In fact the Microsoft case is a perfect example to prove that if the government needs to intervene it’s to stop entrepeneurship gone wild.

    That reminds me of those ads you see… “Girls Gone Wild”. How about “Entrepeneurs Gone Wild IV”? I’d buy that.

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    Posted: 02 July 2001 10:49 PM #33

    “You won’t believe what these crazy businessmen did when we gave them the camera!”

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    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

         
  • Posted: 03 July 2001 08:18 AM #34

    Bryan:

    I can feel you coming around to my point of. “FEEL THE POWER OF THE DARK…” eh-hmm. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Ok, again, I reiterate that the government is ONLY involved a a sponsoring agent, to add clout and a ready made audience for the standards. They MAY have a seat on the board, but they would have no more say than any other members. Or they can be completely out of the loop and let the commercial folks decide, but the key is that whatever the standards board comes up with the government will ensure its use internally. The other role for the government is that they could only buy product that are sanctioned by the board, meaning that the product adhere’s to the standards the board provides. Since the standard is free and open to the public, there would be no excuse for a company to not use the standard, and it would encourage companies to participate in the standard making process.

    Basically, while I firmly believe that any standard must be the product of a free market board, I also believe that we have to herd the market players towards using such standards, and that’s where the government comes in.

    I disagree that Microsoft is THE problem. I see them as a symptom of a free market gone haywire. The hydra analogy works in this context because the head is the MS monopoly, not MS. Cut off one monopoly, two more spring up from this crazy free market beast. Our current environment invites abuse. Gates firmly believes that he is right to totally dominate the market because there is nothing that speaks to the contrary. (except the too little too late efforts of the DOJ)

    Finally, I really hope we NEVER have only two OSes to pick from, even if Apple owns one. The key to a free society is the ability to choose. The more you have to choose from the better the market because choice stimulates competition. Keep Linux, Windows, and Mac OS, also bring on Be, Geos, and OS/2. All OSes that deserve a place in the market. With decent standards these and other products will find a place, or not. It will be up to the market to decide, not one or two individuals.

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    "If only you could have seen what I’ve seen with your eyes." Roy, Blade Runner

    Vern Seward

         
  • Posted: 13 July 2001 11:46 AM #35

    Okay, I’ve read a bunch of this stuff, but kind of glossed over a bit. But here’s my spin -

    1) I agree that MS’ business practices are not inherently evil. They do lie a bunch, however, about those practices, and I think that that sucks, and if Bill Clinton has to pay for lying about a $%*&^$job, then so should Bill Gates have to pay for lying about f-ing us. But here’s the thing - does anyone here believe that if the roles were switched, if Apple *had* licensed the Mac OS to Microsoft and somehow retained control, that they wouldn’t have done the exact same thing? Look at the way Apple treats Appearance Manager hackers. Look at iTools. Look at iDVD, iMovie, iTunes, Sherlock. The bottom line is that the only reason Apple isn’t in the same position as Microsoft is that they aren’t the dominant player. So while I think that MS should be knocked down a notch, considering that they often put out product that isn’t as good as the competition, but still puts them out of business, and they lied, and they may have even purposefully coded parts of Windows in ways to make competing products not work, leveraging the success of their product is a natural thing to do, and even if they hadn’t done these shiftier things, they still would have winded up in court, just because they took advantage of success. So, that leads to

    2) I think creating standards that are required is a brilliant, important step that would totally solve the problem. If you question this, please read “Now Hear This, A Prehistory of Television.” I forget the author, but he chronicles the history of television standards in the free-market. Until TV was fully standardized, there was much room for a giant like RCA (the dominant player in radio and TV at the time) to operate in much the same way as Microsoft does now. However, once standards were set, many companies were able to enter the market, and while the resolution of television didn’t change much, companies could still differentiate themselves by having better hardware at a higher quality without penalizing the consumer for not being able to afford to upgrade. Yeah, okay, so your 1973 TV tube looks like a basketball in a picnic basket. You can still watch WWF Smackdown on UPN, and with an adapter you can get cable. Meanwhile, Sony, Samsung, Pioneer and the rest can come into the market cold and improve on the standard the best they can without ruining it for everyone else.

    The point is that there should be minimum standards that programs in a particular category uses. There are (W3C) but of course, that body has no clout other than “you better do this.” The only reason MS participated in that standards body was so that it could get its foothold. Now, MS are just doing whatever they want (see SmartLinks, for an example). So, obviously that standards body doesn’t hold too much sway. If there was more competition, then MS would have to bow down, just to compete. But without that, someone needs to keep MS honest. So the idea that governments (and I think it should be more than just the US) could sanction what software is approved for use isn’t a bad idea. But be careful - what would happen if that control went to the OS level? What would that mean for companies like Apple, Be, and Sun? What if the standard OS was Windows? Obviously, that wouldn’t happen. Or would it?

         
  • Posted: 18 July 2001 12:06 PM #36

    They’re weasels. Brilliant weasels, but weasels nevertheless.  Bloodsucking, flesh-ripping, cannibalistic, scum-sucking,
    mother-defiling weasles.  So this comes as no surprise.  It
    might even work.  It does make me wonder - is Bill Kkklinton
    on their legal team, or what?

    -Miles (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))

         
  • Posted: 19 July 2001 09:15 AM #37

    On 2001-07-18 15:06, Anonymous wrote:
    They’re weasels. Brilliant weasels, but weasels nevertheless.  Bloodsucking, flesh-ripping, cannibalistic, scum-sucking,
    mother-defiling weasles.  So this comes as no surprise.  It
    might even work.  It does make me wonder - is Bill Kkklinton
    on their legal team, or what?

    -Miles (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))

    Don’t hold back and stop mincing words, tell us how you really feel.

    I think you forgot carrion munching, swill sipping, acned, gut-rotted weasles.

    And now the aforementioned vile beings are out to styme open software and JAVA. WHAT IS UP WITH THESE PEOPLE?? I honestly believe Bill got an F in the ‘Plays nice with others’ category in kindergarden. Nearly ever warm blooded sentient being that knows what open software is thinks it’s a good idea. Maybe that’s the problem, you have to be warm blooded and sentient. JAVA is a standard agreed to by the vast majority of the computing world, why can’t MS just live with it? Why? because Billy and crew can’t control it, and that’s really what these monkey boys are all about, control.

    I read somewhere that a MS spokesperson said that the average user really has no need for the features JAVA offers. Who are they to say what the average user needs or doesn’t need? The arrogance!

    I had thought that there was a place in this world for the likes of MS, but I see now that I am wrong. They should be flogged with over-done spaghetti, pummeled with cream pies, and ignored. We should storm that Redmond castle and hurl insults at them. Bomb them with flatuent filled balloons, and burp loudly in their ears. That should teach them!

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    "If only you could have seen what I’ve seen with your eyes." Roy, Blade Runner

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  • Posted: 19 July 2001 09:54 AM #38

    On 2001-06-29 11:57, VSeward wrote:
    No, what’s needed is a standards commitee.

    To quote Alan Bennett’s great play “Forty Years On”:


    “I must say, Headmaster, that your standards are a bit out of date.”
    “Of course they’re out of date. Standards are always out of date. That’s what makes them standards.”

    Call me a cynic, but I don’t think enforcing standards from above creates an innovative atmosphere, whereas if standards are de facto, ie the marketplace decides, ie it’s left up to the users, the innovations come more quickly and are better. Allowing “industry leaders” to sets standards would mean that they would use the committee as a tool to protect their own turf and repress anything new. With “the market” deciding, there is more of an incentive for someone to try something new because it’s more likely to succeed, and more likely to earn that person fame, money, or geek points, or whatever currency is important to that person.

    If you think the top-down approach works, try working at a government agency, working with marketing at a major corporation, living in Cuba, or living with your parents for the rest of your lives.

     

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  • Posted: 19 July 2001 10:05 AM #39

    On 2001-07-01 16:54, shades wrote:
    One issue that seems overlooked in this discussion: can the U.S. government make decisions that “force” other governments and nations to comply? While it the “easy” solution might be for the U.S. government to do anyone of these actions, what about other regions of the world where computer software is developed?

    Just a thought.

    Quite right! We should leave it to the UN. Afterall, look how they ended war, hunger, disease, poverty, and petulence in teenagers.

    (BTW, that was sarcasm for those who couldn’t recognize it on a bet.)

     

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  • Posted: 19 July 2001 01:48 PM #40


    [/qoute]
    Call me a cynic, ...[/qoute]

    Ok, you’re a cynic. True enough, standards can get dated, but that’s not reason not to adopt them. It just means the body that looks after them will need to be vigilant in maintaining them. The plain fact is that standards work. You don’t have to go too far to see decent standards in action, and this forum is filled with examples. There are unofficial standards, like RTF, TEXT, and PDF. Official ones (ones govern by some industry group) could work also. Yes, there will be a lag, but at least things will work together.

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    "If only you could have seen what I’ve seen with your eyes." Roy, Blade Runner

    Vern Seward