05.21.20

Gemini version available ♊︎

A Simple English and Annotated Translation of Open [sic] Letter to Hobbyists

Posted in Bill Gates at 6:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Original full text here

Letter as a hobby

THIS is an annotated full reproduction of the infamous letter from Bill Gates (photograph above).

February 3, 1976

An Open Letter to Hobbyists

I was born to one of the most affluent and powerful families in the US (and the world), to Bill Sr. and Mary Maxwell Gates*. I do, however, lecture the “Hobbyists”… (do I speak for them?)

To me, the most critical thing in the hobby market right now is the lack of good software courses, books and software itself.

What have I contributed towards that? Rhetorical question. But I want more good stuff available… to me.

Without good software and an owner who understands programming, a hobby computer is wasted.

I don’t understand it myself. So I need someone that understands programming to do the work for me, like Jobs with Woz. Heck, I cannot even graduate from college… with a law degree.

“Which moron wrote this brainless sh*t?”

Martin Eller, Microsoft programmer (about Bill Gates’ own code)**

Will quality software be written for the hobby market?

For me to steal, as I did several times before as I fished dumpsters for other people’s hard work?

Almost a year ago, Paul Allen and myself, expecting the hobby market to expand, hired Monte Davidoff and developed Altair BASIC.

We don’t write code, but we hire people who wrote the code.

Though the initial work took only two months, the three of us have spent most of the last year documenting, improving and adding features to BASIC.

I supervised a couple of geeks.

Now we have 4K, 8K, EXTENDED, ROM and DISK BASIC. The value of the computer time we have used exceeds $40,000.

I also broke machines to steal computer time and I got punished for it. This was not my first crime.

The feedback we have gotten from the hundreds of people who say they are using BASIC has all been positive.

All of it. All. We do Microsoft-style statistics. Everybody is always happy.

Like I’ll tell FOCUS Magazine a couple of decades later:

Gates: No! There are no significant bugs in our released software that any significant number of users want fixed.

FOCUS: Oh, my God. I always get mad at my computer if MS Word swallows the page numbers of a document which I printed a couple of times with page numbers. If I complain to anybody they say “Well, upgrade from version 5.11 to 6.0″.

Gates: No! If you really think there’s a bug you should report a bug. Maybe you’re not using it properly. Have you ever considered that?

FOCUS: Yeah, I did…”

Bill Gates, FOCUS Magazine, 1995

Two surprising things are apparent, however, 1) Most of these “users” never bought BASIC (less than 10% of all Altair owners have bought BASIC),

It’s all about money to me. Just money. Not code. Money.

and 2) The amount of royalties we have received from sales to hobbyists makes the time spent on Altair BASIC worth less than $2 an hour.

I didn’t steal enough computer time. Maybe next time I’ll just arrange a loan from mom’s banking family.

Why is this? As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software.

Copy, not steal. Unlike computer time I actually stole, taking it away from other people by sabotaging the computer systems. Because it’s all about me.

Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?

Software does not cost anything to copy. But I compare it to stealing, in effect calling software users “thieves” or “pirates”.

Maybe a number of decades in the future I’ll buy something called “GitHub”, in effect stealing billions of lines of code I never wrote.

Is this fair? One thing you don’t do by stealing software is get back at MITS for some problem you may have had. MITS doesn’t make money selling software.

MITS also doesn’t have a positive opinion of me.

“He [Bill Gates] acted like a spoiled kid, which is what he was.”

Ed Roberts, Gates’ employer at MITS in the 1970′s (Atlanta Journal-Costitution, 04-27-97)

The royalty paid to us, the manual, the tape and the overhead make it a break-even operation. One thing you do do is prevent good software from being written.

This is precisely what my company will do for half a century to come.

Who can afford to do professional work for nothing?

Someone born to Bill Sr. and Mary Maxwell Gates.

What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free?

Something Microsoft could not do, with a budget of several billions, for several decades.

The fact is, no one besides us has invested a lot of money in hobby software.

I pretend nobody but me exists. Or… I claim to speak on behalf of actual hobbyists (of which I’m no part).

We have written 6800 BASIC, and are writing 8080 APL and 6800 APL, but there is very little incentive to make this software available to hobbyists. Most directly, the thing you do is theft.

I got a few geeks hired to do work and I want lots of money to impress my rich parents. If you disagree with me, then you are a thief.

What about the guys who re-sell Altair BASIC, aren’t they making money on hobby software? Yes, but those who have been reported to us may lose in the end. They are the ones who give hobbyists a bad name, and should be kicked out of any club meeting they show up at.

I may be young and privileged, but I am also quite blatantly a bully. If I cannot get my demands met, I will start kicking people (or maybe hire someone like dad’s lawyers to do the kicking).

I would appreciate letters from any one who wants to pay up, or has a suggestion or comment. Just write to me at 1180 Alvarado SE, #114, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87108.

Where I was arrested and my well-connected father paid bail (to ensure I end up better off than a certain Epstein).

Nothing would please me more than being able to hire ten programmers and deluge the hobby market with good software.

I want to hire people who actually write good code, unlike me, and then destroy the software industry by resuming my past crimes, sans the arrests (mom and dad have got my back, mom can get me a deal with IBM).

⁠Bill Gates
⁠General Partner, Micro-Soft

I called my company after my genitals.
_____
* There are several aspects to it, but one has to dig deeper. “Her grandfather, James Willard Maxwell (1864–1951), was president of the National City Bank in Seattle from 1911 to 1929 and a director of the Seattle branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.” (Source: Sanitised-for reputation-laundering Wikipedia)
** Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. In Picture: After Billions Spent on Marketing, With Vista 11 Hype and Vapourware, No Real Gains for Windows

    The very latest figures from Web usage show that it’s hardly even a blip on the radar; Windows continues bleeding to death, not only in servers



  2. [Meme] [Teaser] Double-Dipping Friedrich Rödler

    As we shall see tomorrow night, the EPO regime was supported by a fair share of corrupt officials inside the Administrative Council



  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli's Iberian Facilitators - Portugal

    How illegal “Strike Regulations” and regressive ‘reforms’ at the EPO, empowering Benoît Battistelli to the detriment of the Rule of Law, were ushered in by António Campinos and by Portugal 5 years before Campinos took Battistelli’s seat (and power he had given himself)



  4. Links 16/10/2021: SparkyLinux Turns 10 and Sculpt OS 21.10

    Links for the day



  5. “Facebook Whistleblowers” Aside, It Has Been a Dying Platform for Years, and It's Mentally Perverting the Older Generation

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  6. [Meme] Microsoft Has Always Been About Control Over Others

    Hosting by Microsoft means subjugation or a slavery-like relationship; contrary to the current media narrative, Microsoft has long been censoring LinkedIn for China’s autocratic regime; and over at GitHub, as we shall show for months to come, there’s a war on information, a war on women, and gross violations of the law



  7. EFF Pushes for Users to Install DuckDuckGo Software After Being Paid to Kill HTTPS Everywhere

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  8. The Reign in Spain

    Discussion about the role of Spain in the EPO‘s autocratic regime which violates the rights of EPO staff, including Spanish workers



  9. [Meme] Spanish Inquisition

    Let it be widely known that Spain played a role in crushing the basic rights of all EPO workers, including hundreds of Spaniards



  10. Why You Shouldn’t Use SteamOS, a Really Incompetent GNU/Linux Distribution With Security Pitfalls (Lutris is a Great Alternative)

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  11. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, October 15, 2021



  12. Links 16/10/2021: Xubuntu 21.10 and DearPyGui 1.0.0

    Links for the day



  13. DuckDuckGo’s HQ is Smaller Than My Apartment

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  14. Post About Whether Vivaldi is a GPL violation Was Quietly Knifed by the Mods of /r/uBlockOrigin in Reddit

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  15. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIII: Battistelli's Iberian Facilitators - Spain

    The EPO‘s António Campinos is an ‘Academy’ of overt nepotism; what Benoît Battistelli did mostly in France Campinos does in Spain and Portugal, severely harming the international image of these countries



  16. From Competitive (Top-Level, High-Calibre, Well-Paid) Jobs to 2,000 Euros a Month -- How the EPO is Becoming a Sweatshop by Patent Examiners' Standards

    A longish video about the dreadful situation at the EPO, where staff is being ‘robbed’ and EPO funds get funnelled into some dodgy stock market investments (a clear violation of the institution’s charter)



  17. [Meme] Protecting European Patent Courts From EPO 'Mafia'

    With flagrant disregard for court rulings (or workarounds to dodge actual compliance) it seems clear that today's EPO management is allergic to justice and to judges; European Patents perish at unprecedented levels in national European courts and it should be kept that way



  18. Links 15/10/2021: Pine64's New PinePhone Pro and Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Codename

    Links for the day



  19. [Meme] GitHub Isn't Free Hosting, It's All About Control by Microsoft

    Deleting GitHub isn’t a political statement but a pragmatic decision, seeing how Microsoft routinely misuses its control over GitHub to manipulate the market



  20. With EPO 'Strike Regulations' Belatedly Ruled Unlawful, EPO Management May be Lowering the Salary Even Further by Introducing Outside 'Temps' or Casual Workers

    Institutional capture by an 'IP' (litigation) Mafia is nearly complete; with illegal so-called (anti) 'Strike Regulations' out the door, they're quickly moving on to another plan, or so it seems on the surface



  21. Links 15/10/2021: 95% of Ransomware Targets Windows

    Links for the day



  22. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 14, 2021



  23. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XII: The French Connection

    The EPO‘s presidency (led by Frenchmen for nearly 15 years out of the past 18 years; Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos are both French despite their somewhat misleading surnames) is extremely unlikely to even be mildly scrutinised by the French delegates because of a web of nepotism and protectionism



  24. [Meme] Another Maladministration Meeting Comes to an End

    Did the EPO‘s overseeing body properly tackle Benoît Battistelli‘s illegal acts, authorised by that very same overseeing body? Don’t hold your breath as António Campinos continues to crack down on staff (maybe ILOAT will rule on it in 2030)



  25. Links 14/10/2021: LibreOffice 7.2.2, Happy Birthday to Jolla, Ubuntu 21.10, Devuan GNU+Linux 4.0, OpenBSD 7.0

    Links for the day



  26. [Teaser] What Miguel de Icaza Really Thinks of the CEO of Microsoft GitHub

    Following the opening of a new series about Microsoft GitHub we drop a little teaser today; we expect dozens of parts to be released in the coming weeks/months as facts are being validated and organised



  27. Splitting the Time to Cover More Leaks and Exposés

    We take stock of Part 11 of the ongoing EPO series (“EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion”) and explain what caused various delays yesterday; we may have to up our pace a little in order to keep up with an influx of leaks and whistleblowers



  28. [Meme] Destroying the Workplace

    The working conditions at the EPO continue to worsen under the António Campinos regime, perpetuating the decade-long 'demolition project' of Benoît Battistelli and his cohorts in the complicit Administrative CouncilThe working conditions at the EPO continue to worsen under the António Campinos regime, perpetuating the decade-long 'demolition project' of Benoît Battistelli and his cohorts in the complicit Administrative Council



  29. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part I — Inside a Den of Corruption and Misogynists

    Today we commence a new series that implicates Microsoft, GitHub, Copilot, and Team Mono



  30. EPO Management Tricks EPO Staff Into Taking More Paycuts

    “Education and childcare reform” [sic] is an António Campinos "reform" in the same sense regressive salary reductions are just “adjustments” (euphemism); Electronic opt-in gaffes, according to staff representatives, show that the tradition of Benoît Battistelli carries on at the Office, taking away from staff for a few corrupt officials to milk the institution to death


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts