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ZDNet: Microsoft is not the enemy

Jun 16, 2001, 12:00 (53 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Henry Kingman)

ZDNet's Henry Kingman has a Pogo moment as he meets the enemy and discovers it isn't Microsoft, it's the need to dominate computing... Linux enthusiasts who didn't catch the tongue-in-cheek part of "world domination," included:

"While a lot of Linux and free software creators are probably just motivated to write good code, I think others really hope to free the computing industry and all computer users from the kind of bullying and domination that Microsoft has exemplified. They seek to do this not by turning the tables on Microsoft and themselves dominating the industry and the users. That's absurd--you can't dominate anything by letting people take stuff for free. Rather, they seek to provide for those who can't afford or just don't want to buy from a domineering company.

I remember the first time I figured this out. I was reading the home page of one of Linus' University pals, Lars Wirzenius's, I think, sometime around 1997. At the bottom, there was a kind of little footnote or colophon that said, "This page was written using Notepad on a Microsoft Windows system." This, in turn, linked to a short essay explaining that Microsoft would always have its place as long as it continued to make products that people like. Lars, for example, found Notepad on Windows perfectly adequate for making little Web pages, and could everyone please chill out with the Microsoft bashing.

No single company, not even Microsoft, is the enemy. Domination is. If a customer likes Microsoft products and doesn't feel unfairly dominated when they patronize the company, then no one is compromised in the exchange."

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