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too critical of MS?

Why is it that people hate Microsoft so much? If everything they do is so buggy, bloated and ugly, so why buy from them? Looks like wherever I go on the Internet, people are criticizing MS for being capitalistic, greedy, succesfull or whatever. Are people jealous? Because it seems to me that the arguments against MS are pretty much similar to the arguments the terrorists made for there attack on september 11th.

I just want to understand what pushes people to believe that MS is so bad?

I agree, MS has its faults, but so far they're the best IT company ever.

Roger
Monday, May 20, 2002

(Score:-1, Troll)

Johnny Simmson
Monday, May 20, 2002

I know it's a troll, but I just can't resist:

Read up a little bit on the history of Microsoft, in particular, how they've managed to abuse their monopoly position in the Operating System market to take over other markets (applications, development tools, browsers, etc).

Ask anybody who has ever done a business deal with Microsoft as anything other than an end-user customer. Microsoft has a history of screwing over "partners" when the relationship is no longer convenient.

The mere existence of Microsoft Outlook, and its feature set that seems custom-designed for email worm propagation, automatically disqualifies Microsoft from the "best IT company ever" award, IMO.

-Mark

Mark Bessey
Monday, May 20, 2002

It's because of their size, it makes them an easy target.

They have millions and millions of customers and therefore even a small percentage of antagonists amounts to a large number of people - but compared to their user base, its probably on par for other companies.

Also, they are very successful at what they do - this means that a) the people who they crush in the marketplace tend to cry because Microsoft pounded them so hard and b) because they have lots of money which no one likes (proletariat vs. aristocracy ref. see "history").

In addition they have been harshly competitive and sometimes overtly tricky maybe even illegal.  They are the Goliath and so no one wants to root for them, even when they do a good job.  They don't need praise, they already got billions in the bank.

Don't sweat most of the hype.  Its good to keep an eye on them since they have so much accumulated power, but they aren't going away for a long time.

Michael
Monday, May 20, 2002

Stand back from the troll, because he is defining the question.

A smart person would ask this of Slashdot.  Because here, most people are probably ambivalent.  Microsoft lies like the devil.  But they keep hardware manufacturers in check.

Greg Neumann
Monday, May 20, 2002

People have always disliked success and leadership.

pb
Monday, May 20, 2002

>Why is it that people hate Microsoft so much?
Because we love to hate. We hate stars, we hate politicians, we hate our neighbors, etc. Every broad generalization deserves another.

>Because it seems to me that the arguments against MS are pretty much similar to the arguments the terrorists made for there attack on september 11th.

A "Non sequitur" attempt that is surreptitiously attempting to form an association in the reader's mind between MS and the 9/11 terrorist by juxtaposing them above. Criticizing a company is far removed from killing people for a cause.

Ian Stallings
Monday, May 20, 2002

There are five reasons. First, there's a natural tendency to question and condemn the market leader, especially among younger folks. This is natural and healthy. For example, 12 years ago IBM copped the type of scorn nowadays directed at Microsoft.

Secondly, a significant part of the criticism derives from orchestrated attacks by big business competitors, and is just as bad as what it purports to condemn. Actions at the legislative level are fuelled by these interests.

Thirdly, the dominant usage of Microsoft products exposes those products to the highest risk for viruses and other attacks, and that predominance is then gleefully misinterpreted by Microsoft enemies as arising from sub-standard software development.

Fourth, there's a substantial degree of expertise required for Windows development. Developers from other areas sometimes become frustrated when they try to develop for Windows, and they then condemn the platform and environment.

Fifth, and following from the above point, applications developed by inexperienced developers often suck big time, and this is then sheeted home to Windows rather than to the amateurishness of the developers. This is one of the factors in criticism of Visual Basic as a development tool, for example.

Hugh Wells
Monday, May 20, 2002

Ten years ago both Microsoft and IBM wanted my company to write things for their respective platforms, being Windows and OS/2. And this anecdote points to the reason Microsoft won the desktop and IBM lost.

Microsoft sent us free compilers and books. When we had queries, we would get phone calls back, with answers, from very senior people.

IBM, in comparison, sent us invoices for $1,400 sets of books. Not only that, the IBM books were dreadful.

Hugh Wells
Monday, May 20, 2002

I think the comparisons of MS today, and that of IBM which used to be the daily whipping boy are good one. IBM had anti-trust court battles for what...at least 10 years? MS has done IBM the favor of the century, in now that IBM can move on, and just go to work!

It is funny how so many companies focus some “evil” deed by ms. There are a good many misconceptions being spread about MS that do disservice to all. While people are quick to point out the browser war, it is a incredibility stupid and poor lawsuit. I can think a good many more areas where MS DOES NEED to be hauled into court. But the browser? What a crock, and waste of taxpayer time. This is simply a great political cause with which to bash MS. The reality is that Netscape threw this market away...it had little to do with MS. Great, now the idea here is to support stupid mistakes by poorly run companies. What leap forward in our economic policies.

MS beat crap out of Netscape, Word Perfect, Lotus 123 with better IE, with better Word, and with better Lotus. Read some good articles at what went on here. Heck, read the following:

Things your should never do:
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000069.html

Also read:

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000074.html

Heck, if you had put me in charge of Corel/WordPerfect 3, or 4 years ago, and just read the above two articles, the world would be a different place. That company was so poorly run, and they also missed the whole Linux boom altogether. Now MS actually had to bail out that company, and has killed any product direction that will hurt ms. In fact, it really means that Corel/WordPerfect sold us all out.  They really need me at the helm.

Even today, we hear grumbling about the fact that MS bundles the Media player with windows. Do any of you remember what the first computers were like? Do you actually remember when the Sound Blaster Card was a complete add in, and not even supported by Microsoft? The Sound Blaster Card finally started becoming a wide spread standard when windows 3.1 came out.

Microsoft decided to start supporting sound cards, so YOU THE CONSUMER did not have to run around and start configuring every single card that you purchased. When they adopted the card as a standard, then the flood gates opened to competition, as anyone now could build, and install sound cards (if you were creative labs, then I am sure you were not happy).  By the way, when you have a chance, fire up windows 3.1, and check it out. You will find the windows media player installed. In other words, the only reason why you hear that bundling the media play is a evil today, is because the competitors are telling you so.

Then the crowd cheers...ya right!..the media player is a evil thing, since ms includes it with windows. Someone forget that this has been the case since windows 3.0!

I mean if you want to talk about a closed system for sound cards, why are we not talking about Apple computer? They are the ones with a closed system. It is truly laughable to hear complaints about MS including the Media Player with windows. It is if someone woke up, and was told this was bad thing.  The crowed cheers again..yea...I am ignorant, but this must be a bad thing. Get real, the media player has been there for 10+ years.

The existence of the Media player in windows 3.1 all the way to day, NEVER EVER stopped Real Audio in any way. Why did Real Audio not complain about the media player in windows 3.1?

Fact is, that streaming sound over the web is a cheap and low cost feature. It is also something that the newer media player does well. Streaming media has becomes like any other commodity on the web, and the value of the player is not that much (the consumer does not care if it is Real Audio, or windows media...they just want to click on it ...and play it). These ignorant people make me sick. If we had to pay to use the mp3 format, then I think all us consumers would have quickly found something else. This is so simple.

I mean, really, if you go to the stereo manufactures and ask them should GM, Ford, Honda etc should include stereos in the cars, what the hell do you think their combined response is going to be? Of course they are going to say that the auto industry SHOULD NOT include stereos in their cars. They want to you to go out and purchase stereos from them.

I mean, go ask Real Audio if windows should have the media player? What possible kind of answer are you going to get? Of course they are gong to tell you it is a evil? In the case of Real Audio, or in my example of the stereo industry with the auto industry, what do you expect? The problem with most complaints directed towards MS, is that people with their own self interest are being asked to comment. Their self interests are no different then the self interests that MS has! Why not forget all of these industries, and ask what the public wants? Do you think that the sound card manufactures want Apple to open up their computers to allow sound cards....you bet they do!

Then there is the example about the $10 tax on PC manufactures. This story has recently gained a lot of press coverage. This info is completely miss-leading. All MS said, that if you become a exclusive suppler to windows, we will cut the price of windows by $10 per copy sold. To come and tell me that is amounts to a $10 increase or “tax” for each pc sold is simply ridicules. People who twist words like this, I have no patience for. From Visa/Master card striking deals at the Olympics, to the tire manufactures who offer sweet deals to the auto industry, this type of deal is standard fair in business today. If the company wants to sell non windows OS, then they lose that discount, but it certainly is not a tax on the other pc’s, as widely reported in the news. Talk about misleading the public. The company simply has to decide to lose the discount, or simply charge $10 more for those pc’s with windows installed.  I see no problem with this at all. It was not a tax on pc’s. I mean, if you don’t purchase Windows, then you not paying for it. Some manufactures said that they could not afford to lose this discount. That is too bad. If don’t want to sell windows...then don’t? Regardless, this should not have been worded as a tax by the press, but simply the loss of a discount .

I can come up with some real complaints and areas where MS does need to be hauled into court, but the above widely reported issues are certainly not ones that need attention. What a joke.

What we really need is some integrity in the MS bashing. In other words when we DO decide to complain about MS, lets use our brains to do so.

The software and IT industry is an important industry to all of us. Many of those people who do complain are complaining out a good heart, and of true good concern for all. The problem here is so many are miss-guided. We need people to speak out, but one must use responsibility when doing so. Gee, I hope my response on being responsible is responsible!

The browser and the Media player have got to be two worst issues to pick a fight on!

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Kallal@msn.com

Albert D. Kallal
Monday, May 20, 2002

Did the OP seriously compare critics of Microsoft to Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists?

Really?  Pointing out flaws in your perfect company puts me in the same ethical barge as people who flew planes into the World Trade Center, killing more than 3,000 people?  Bitching about macro viruses makes me the same as a suicide bomber?

Dude, your moral compass is spinning out of control.

Justin Johnson
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Albert and Hugh, nicely said. There are so many opportunities out there it's nauseating to here about how Microsoft is supposedly putting everyone out of business and creates lousy products. At some point, and hopefully soon, people and companies are going to have to take some responsibility and put their futures into their own hands.

pb
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Since others have taken the question seriously, and turned a troll into a discussion, I'll add my own thoughts.

For one thing, Microsoft has rarely made the best product first.  Many user's superficial sense of justice is offended by "embrace, extend, extinguish".  While this has made good business sense for Microsoft, it's not a great PR move--Microsoft seems almost to consciously have chosen to be a corporate bully.  That's great for stockholders, but it's not the sort of thing to endear it to anyone who has complaint about Microsoft.

For another thing, a lot of Microsoft's success is attributable to their business skills, to the apparent detriment of their products.  Again, while that's good for the stockholders, it's not the sort of thing to make purists fall in love with it.

Justin Johnson
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Albert raises some excellent points, to which I would add Dial up Networking. Does anyone remember what users had to go through to connect to the internet before Windows 95?

Hugh Wells
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Ian,

>>A "Non sequitur" attempt that is surreptitiously attempting to form an association in the reader's mind between MS and the 9/11 terrorist by juxtaposing them above. Criticizing a company is far removed from killing people for a cause.
<<

OMG, what a great sentance !!

James Ladd
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

I think that the software market would be too fragmented without a 'Microsoft'. Software would still not be regarded as a viable business proposition and still be regarded as a high risk (much higher than now) activity due to lack of standards without a unifying presence such as a Microsoft. So for better or worse, I think the IT industry is better of with Microsoft (or someone like them) than without.

Tanya
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

I am amazed how much the general public lack information about Microsoft.
I am tired of reading the ignorance of people.
Microsoft is hurting the software industry, it's monopoly is beyond control. Every company that worked with microsoft has learned that the ugly and hard way, their marketing and excess money that they "stole" from the  end user was used to promote a different microsoft that never existed.

bill gates.
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

If I has a buck for every time ive partisipated in discusions like this one, id be richer than bill gates. :D

Seriously. Hate is a strong word. I find MS to be an annoying presence. I mostly choose to use other OS's for any given task.
My humble hope is that with MacOSX's base in the BSD a common open, cross platform API for desktop apps could be established. Then MS would have a real competitor as the options would be limited to, "Write for Mac, Linux, BSD and what ever" OR "Write for Win32".
Suddenly the propriety API would not look so good anymore. Such a thing would have to be initiated by apple though, and I dont think it will happen any time soon.

Eric Debois
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

James,
I thought someone would like that one ;-)
Sometimes you gotta use the "baffle them with bullsh!+" technique. But this threads argument is flawed and based on assumptions so I figured I'd chime in. Not every open source advocate should be labeled as a zealot just as not every MS developer should be labled as a lemming.

Ian Stallings
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Most of the Microsoft bashing comes from developers, not end users.  There's a big reason for this.

Software is a rich field of opportunity.  It's like a North America circa 1800, but without any native people to displace.  It's alarmingly easy for a developer to come up with a nifty program that no one else has done, and make some money from it.  Or a developer can just give it away if desired.  Software can also be duplicated losslessly, and since it's such a rich field, that developer will very likely come up with other nifty programs.

This creates a golden age, where developers freely share some programs, and maybe sell others.  Developers open the cyber-equivalent of mom-and-pop stores.  They're their own bosses.  Idea stealing is uncommon because of the vast amount of room available for everyone, and when it does happen, it's considered an accident, and everyone's quite happy to attribute some idea to someone else if there's any doubt.  Meanwhile, all that freely shared software means that if you want to get a computer and do neat things with it, you have literally thousands of free programs you can use.  You could spend your entire lifetime downloading and trying out code written by others and given away, just because it's a hobby to someone.

Then along comes Microsoft.  Now, MS is certainly not responsible for every horror story.  But it does have one great big huge well-known example of one, and probably the most egregious.  That would be the Netscape/IE debacle.  Back in the day, Marc Andreessen was the poster child for software developer done good.  He (with some help) made a decent web browser, Mosaic.  Then he made a much better one, Netscape.  If you were a business, you had to buy Netscape, but if you were a struggling college student, and knew where to go (it wasn't hard), you could get it for free, and see how much better it was than Mosaic.  And it was -so- much better that you didn't mind forking over the $50 or whatever.  You were happy to do it, in fact, because Marc did a bang-up job, and in the developer world, you send people like that $50 because you know they'll turn around and make another nifty program that you can get for free.

Microsoft's response was to give away IE for free with Windows.  Business-wise, this is brilliant.  They worked hard on Windows.  They worked hard on IE.  It's perfectly fine for you to give away something you made yourself.  (That's a point I've been praising all this time, after all.) 

The trouble is this.  It rapidly became clear that they didn't give it away for free because it was a hobby, and they liked sharing their software.  It was obviously done to kill Netscape.  While it had some niftiness that Netscape didn't have, it wasn't the improvement over Netscape that Netscape was over Mosaic, so it didn't get raves from the developer community.  In fact, it duplicated a lot of features Netscape had.  And while I'm sure MS duplicated them in a legal manner, they weren't giving props to the Netscape crew for their ideas.  MS was a BigCo, and BigCos, we learn, never give this sort of respect to a competitor, because it's a sign of weakness.  The thing was, developers knew exactly where MS was riding Netscape's coattails, and so MS's refusal to give credit where credit was due smacked of revisionism.  Let me tell you:  deception -really- sticks in a
developer's craw.

Oh, and did I mention that while Netscape worked on Unix, IE did not?  [I'm fairly sure of this, at least.]  Netscape was OS-agnostic, IE was not.  Now that in itself is fine; developers often shared software that would only run under one OS.  But that was okay, because it was a bit of work to port it, and if you were wiped from writing the one-OS version, that's understandable.  Very often, a developer would give away the source code, or at the very least a spec of how the software worked, if it wasn't already obvious from watching the program run.  Another developer would invariably port the program to VMS or Windows or Macintosh or Xenix or whatever.  More people could now use that program, and the porter would get his/her name in the credits list, and actually make friends with the original developer.  What could be better than that?

So why not port IE to VMS, Mac, Xenix, etc.?  Because if you did, MS would sue you.  Which is all fine and legal.  Any developer had the right to do this, but I know of no individual developer who did.  Only BigCos did that.  Another crawsticker.

Anyway, Windows by then already had a big market share.  What's more, they had all sorts of office software that came with it, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.  Everyone was sharing documents created with these programs, and if you wanted to do corporate stuff, you had to use the same tools as this block of users.  These programs only worked on - you guessed it - Windows.  You can't write programs that'll output documents in the form MS uses, because MS won't publish the specs for those formats, and it'll change them anyway with the next version.  So you have to buy Windows.  And since you're also getting IE for free, why buy Netscape (if you're a business)?

So to make an epic story merely long, Netscape went belly-up.  As future MS-bashers saw it, Netscape lost because they played the game like developers, and MS played it like a BigCo.  In developers' minds, Netscape's strategy would let everyone win, and Netscape would win a lot.  MS's strategy let everyone -think- they win, and MS wins BIG.  MS took advantage of the impromptu economy model.  While Netscape took advantage of it by making a Mosaic-killer, MS did it by previously being the biggest kid on the block.  Another crawsticker.

What's more, MS ended up sending a message.  If MS sees a program that works, MS will duplicate its function, make a version that works best on Windows, and advertise the hell out of it as their own invention.  It does this because it has enough liquid assets to do so, and because it's legal.  So any bright idea I may come up with for a program can be allowed to grow only until MS notices me, and then cuts off my air supply.  I can't possibly get enough liquid assets to defend against this, unless I'm insanely lucky.  The only way up is to piggyback on a big kid from another block, like Nintendo or Sony or Oracle or Sun or Dell, in a related industry I didn't choose.  MS refuses to compete on terms of product quality and innovation, but rather by being deliberately stubborn and by bullying vendors, while advertising that they "innovate".  More revisionism.  Another crawsticker.

Take note.  I have no problem with a company parlaying past success into more success.  That's a natural thing.  What I take offense to is MS leveraging an economic model that we developers chose to honor, and made itself richer at our expense.  I can spend ten tons of effort creating an original program, and then MS can spend ten pounds on minor improvements, twenty tons on marketing a Windows-only version, and reap 200 tons of benefit.  "All perfectly legal."  I'll be lucky to get my ten tons back.

Paul Brinkley
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Upon re-reading, I realize my post may sound like a Netscape lamentation screed, which Albert Kallal addressed nicely earlier.  I should reiterate that Netscape's downfall isn't my major point.  My main point is to convey the utter frustration and helplessness felt by any developer who can't compete with MS in terms of innovation, because MS instead competes in terms of business maneuvering, coupled with the rage we feel whenever MS then claims to the world that it does, in fact, compete in terms of innovation.

So we take it out on developer forums like this one.  :-)  Seriously though, these feelings are real and justified, and appear to me to be the primary drive behind MS-bashing.

Paul Brinkley
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

I dislike Microsoft because they charge a lot of money for substandard and defective products. hey -- why pay for something that is susceptible to so many viruses and is buggy? I think it is a rude joke that  the software industry in general is not liable for the quality of their code and then charge money for it. Everyone else has to stand behind their work. What if your auto mechanic said your brake job was offered to you on an "as is" basis? Suppose your pharamacist filled the wrong perscription and that he or she told you they would post an "upgrade". What if your accountant  filed the tax returns for your business incorrectly and then told you he or she would send in a 'patch' to the IRS? I bet that would go over real big. Suppose Civil engineers were not liable for their structural analyses? Nobody would live in a high rise flat.
As far as I am concerned the EULA that Microsoft (and other commercial companies) use is an an excuse to do sloppy work and charge for it. The other professions (engineers, lwayers, doctors) have to stand behind their work. Somehow there is a special dispensation that extends to commercial software vendors that makes them liable for nothing. Well that is just an incentive to slop code together. Human nature being what it is, that is exactly what happens.

Sick of sloppy work
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Sick,

Since most programmers (at least the vocal ones) are opposed to any sort of education or certification (and no, I don't mean vendor certs), it will take a really bad accident or something else equally as drastic before we can ever hope for any sort of professional standards in this field.  Until then software engineering will not be seen as a true profession and will continue to be looked down upon as a geek hobby.

Wow.  That's been building up for a while.

Johnny Simmson
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

I tend to come down on the "pro-Microsoft" side.  The reason?  Pervasivness is usually more important than innovation.  Sounds like blastphemy, but the "dumbing down" of the "commodity PC" has been a good thing, IMO.

I think our perspective is skewed, being as most of us (those not being employed by MS) see bundling as a threat to our livelyhood.  Fair enough, but only in the short run.  As computing connesuiers, we also look at an "off the shelf" PC configuration with the same distain that a goumet chef looks at a Happy Meal.

In the end, though, it creates opportunity for all.  How much more E-Commerce is there, given that any Joe can order a $599 PC and run AOL?  Would Joe even have bought a PC if he had to buy a browser separately?  How about a file system?  How about separate hardware components (another example of how bundling has benefited the industry)?

How much greater is the opportunity to sell enterprise software now that any 10 person firm can afford to buy and maintain a network?

Granted, this eats into the ability to sell extremely high cost systems, but it widens the playing field.

MS might compete with my company some day, but without MS, we wouldn't be here to begin with.

Bill Carlson
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Earlier, Greg says: But they [Microsoft] keep hardware manufacturers in check.

Interesting.  Not that I'd thought about it before - you don't have to these days - but true.  This form of Microsoft standardization is a helpful service to us developers, not having to choose what hardware we're going to code for.  In much the same way, keeping us developers under control can be seen as a service to the consumer, like Bill just said.

The difference here is that upstart hardware vendors also appreciate the Microsoft standard - so long as they can plug and play, they can compete with anyone based on quality alone.  Microsoft at this point is a marginal at best player in the hardware world.  Upstart software vendors, on the other hand, tend to live in their little niches and hope MS hasn't noticed them yet. 

I would love the Microsoft standard too, but for us employees of small software companies, Microsoft as the competitor/acquisitor is the axe over our heads.  It may not happen anytime soon, but when it does happen... having invested in the MS route means we're sitting ducks.  It's the twinge of uncertainty which keeps me from being completely in favor of the Microsoft solution, even when I do ultimately choose it.  You hitchhike on the Microsoft bandwagon, you have to plan for getting thrown off.  I'm not saying don't do it, I'm saying "Be prepared."

Mikayla
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Until then software engineering will not be seen as a true profession and will continue to be looked down upon as a geek hobby.


Considering there are ZERO credential and certification requirements, it's simply BAFFLING to me how incredibly well paid we are. 

Are you kidding?  How many "geek hobbies" allow you to pay off your mortgage before the age of 30?  And how many give you BMW leases, dogs at work, etc,  (however fleeting it was)? 

Bella
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Bella, what does pay have to do with my statement?

FYI, The bubble has burst and salaries have stagnated.

Johnny Simmson
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Hello Bella:

I don't begrudge developers because they make huge salaries. What I am sick of is defective buggy crap.  I work as a chemical analyst at the FDA and  I am here to tell you these Microsoft NT equipped instruments have really sloppy software.  How come Excel cannot round numbers correctly when a $10.00 Casio calculator can do it? Instead  I have to go through my spreadsheets and insert =ROUND(foo, 4) everywhere. Also Microsoft Word behaves very badly with embedded spreadsheets.  As for the closed source proprietary software, it's pathetic stuff. The 1100 chemstation software for my HPLC is just trash. One night I had to do a UV/Vis analysis of a pharmaceutical and after finishing the test I was horrified that the 1100 software saved *none* of the results. I wrote Agilent and  a week later they called. "Oh yes" they said "that is a bug logged in under KPR-74" (kpr = Known Problem Report). 
It's that kind of glib disregard for fixing mistakes that makes me distrust the closed source developers. They knew the stuff was defective when they sold the instrument to us. A similar problem happened with the software for a Perkin-Elmer FTIR. 
In contrast the Open Source Octave works very well and the developer, Mr. John Eaton is quick to correct mistakes.
Also the free software (open source)  Scilab (From INRIA) is developed by a research facility in France. It correctlyrounds numbers and is a very good programme. Just to dispel any caricture that OS developers are unemployed and undisciplined people, this facility employs 550 PhD's. They also have a division of Mathematicians to help with software development.  Most important -- they do quality work.

Sick of sloppy work
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

My point was to address your "geek hobby that is looked down upon" comment.  I disagree.  We get paid great. 
If thats "being looked down upon", then WALK ALL OVER ME, BABY!   

As in many OTHER fields, it sure beats getting the LIP SERVICE of being lookup UP to, but getting paid crap.  That's simply insulting to one's intelligence.  Usually, people in those situations are not very intelligent.  Appropos, I suppose.

Bella
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Paul, that's the dumbest thing I've read in awhile. It makes perfect sense that an HTML viewer be included with an OS. I don't remember knowing a single person who paid for Netscape. Anyone with any hope of browser marketshare needs to give a basic client away and make money in other ways. Duh. Netscape has noone to blame but itself for its demise. It made fatal mistake after fatal mistake with the biggest being the attempt to develop a suite of inferior products instead of a good browser.

pb
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Perhaps, you need to learn to properly select what software meets your needs.  If you don't like how certain software behaves, or if it doesn't meet your needs, then ask for a refund, and go use something else.  This applies to ANY consumer good, including software. 

Bella
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Bella, what you are paid has little bearing on the value accorded your profession. 

For example, to be an engineer in most states you have to:
1.  Possess a bachelor's degree in the discipline.
2.  Undergo 4 years of internship with a licensed engineer.
3.  Pass an 8 hour exam in your specialty.

That is why most of the engineers I know give me a hard time about being a 'Software Engineer'.  To them its the same as being a 'Sanitation Engineer'.  Maybe I'm shallow and/or elitist for wanting programming to be considered a 'true' profession, but you can't argue with their results. 

And no, it has nothing to do with money.  First off, all of the engineers that I know that were driven by money quickly wound up in sales.  Secondly, supply & demand has already started to drive our salaries down (coupled with offshore development of course).

Johnny Simmson
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

First, I'm not taking into account future salaries. I was talking about events up to and including today, which is the same time period you said that programming was looked down upon. 

But, let's agree to disagree.  Real engineers can laugh all they want at us, we made triple their salaries during the boom. 

Bella
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Sick, two points. Excel and Word must be useful to you in some way or you wouldn't use them. If they're not, use something else. It's your choice.

Regarding the chemical analysis products you mention, it seems to me your problems are with the specific products and the specific developers of those products. See points 4 and 5 in my post.

Hugh Wells
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Hi Sick,

Doctors kill people all the time. Amputate incorrect extremeties, give incorrect prescriptions.

Lawyers give incorrect or illegal advice and wind up in jail.

Accountants practice fraud (see Enron).

"Unbreakable" bridges collapse from minor earthquakes. No one thought that the twin towers could collapse.

Brakes sometimes fail.

The Concorde burst into flames in takeoff.

What is your point?

Ryan
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Ryan, the fact is that doctors, lawyers, accountants, & engineers deliver products & services with far less a failure & defect rate than we do.  That is sick's point.  Part of it has to do with the fact that people in all of these other professions can be held liable for shoddy work.  We can't.

Johnny Simmson
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Systems in aviation and medicine ARE extremely reliable. Systems for word processing COULD be extremely reliable if people wanted to pay a lot more and wait longer. Users of non-critical software vote, by way of the market, vote for having low cost software.

Hugh Wells
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Johnny Simmson makes a good point.  Please note that I am not here to paint all Software developers, and the companies they work for, with the same brush. The original topic was "too critical of MS". My contention is that a company, any ompany,  that has a dominant market share and  issues this kind of aggreemnt:
NO WARRANTIES. Microsoft expressly disclaims any warranty for the SOFTWARE PRODUCT. THE SOFTWARE PRODUCT AND ANY RELATED DOCUMENTATION IS PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE,

Has no incentive to make quality products. They are immune from customer complaints and they have no competition, so there is no incentive to make a quality product.
Look at the above agreement. It says you buy this software license but if the product does not work, you are on your own. 

Sick of sloppy work
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

AND... version of this with the same intent are issued by anyone that puts out software for multiple use - check all of the freeware, shareware, paidware, vaporware license agreements.  They are all the same, saying in effect, that "we are not at fault for anything concerning our product".

I hate it, sure... but it is not just microsoft, and it did not start with microsoft.  It starts with what we like to call our "society".

As long as we, as a society, support the notion that people with a clue are directly responsible for the acts of people without a clue, this is what will result.

I remind you (one of many, too many similar stories) of the lady that sued McDonalds and won a healthy settlement after spilling hot coffee on herself trying to drive with it between her knees.  She won because McDonalds didn't have a "warning - this is hot" or similar label on a cup of coffee. 

The fact that she was too STUPID to figure out that coffee is supposed to be hot was judged not to be her fault.

Joe AA.
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

I remind you (one of many, too many similar stories) of the
            lady that sued McDonalds and won a healthy settlement
            after spilling hot coffee on herself trying to drive with it
            between her knees. She won because McDonalds didn't
            have a "warning - this is hot" or similar label on a cup of
            coffee.

This is OT, but here's some useful info on this case:

http://groups.google.ca/groups?selm=3ACDF8BC.90FE3201%40hwa.net&output=gplain

Most people don't know the details of the case.

John X
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

the anti microsoft people posting here are pretty weird.

Yes microsoft produces buggy code, but it isn't like YOU don't, smart guy.

Microsoft did a few things that were GENIUS and ultimately helped the small developer:

1. they took something that isn't really meant to be sold as a "product" and managed to turn it into something that can be sold like tables and chairs.

2. They lowered the bar for reliability

3. they popularized the "no guarantee that this will even work at all" license

If you are an independent developer, you should appreciate 1. because pretty much all a programmer can get paid for is hourly labor. after a while, even people that love programming get tired of doing it all the time, and it is real nice to have another method of obtaining money for your work. productized software is an amazing way of making more money. the costs of reproduction (and nowadays, distribution) are essentially nothing. so do something right a few times, work out the kinks, then just start selling the thing.

you should appreciate the other two, because it makes it easier for you to make money and not be sued for when your software doesnt work. also, now if your software doesn't have tons of bugs, people will think you are head and shoulders above the rest...

dumbconsultant
Thursday, May 23, 2002

I love hearing people rant about the bugginess of Microsoft products when by virtually any metric (bugs per developer, bugs per line of code, bugs per customer, bugs per hour used, bugs for QAer, etc.) Microsoft would destroy every shop except for possibly NASA.

pb
Thursday, May 23, 2002

Yeah, right.  Speak for yourself bubba.

Of all the unverifialbe statements ever made, this one ranks up there at the top.  Let's personalize it a little, shall we:  Your pathetic software shop sucks more than MSFT.  Is that what you meant to say?  Just wanted to make sure.

Nat Ersoz
Friday, May 24, 2002

As part of a company currently realizing that a relationship with MS isn't quite the proposition they lead you to believe in the courting phase, lemme tell you it's a standard ploy - they wave business in your face, praise your work, then they come at your hardball. It's totally bi-polar, aggressive and more than slightly opaque. Yes they are successful, but whoopy-shit.  Our experience with their Project Managers and other illuminati is that they do not seem terribly concerned with being a co-operative partner with their vendors or facilitating project success, and their organization is somewhat suspect in providing basic information such as completed specs on time and source materials, yet they have their hands out constantly.  It has been an interesting trip with MS.  I look forward to never repeating it.

mike wilson
Friday, May 24, 2002

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