Bonum Certa Men Certa

Reader's Article: Sticks and Stones



Summary: Response to Jeremy Allison's take on Microsoft

THE following was contributed by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous.

Jeremy Allison's Bad Analogy



Jeremy Allison had the right idea but a bad analogy when he famously stated, "Shouldn’t we leave the [Microsoft] elephant alone and stop poking it with sticks? Well, the problem is they aren’t going to leave us alone." Comparing Microsoft to an elephant does a disservice to elephants and underestimates both the power and malice of the company. The fact of the matter is that Microsoft is sitting on each and every one of us and we need better than pointy sticks to get rid of them.

I have respect for Microsoft people, really, but see them as a terrible impediment to progress. They work hard at the endless task of bending their clients work flow to Microsoft's broken tools. Then again, I also have respect for people who were able to hunt mastodons with spears and know that we are all better off with better tools and wildlife conservation efforts. It never ceases to amaze me how brittle Microsoft people are when told about tools that work better than the ones they have. Their indoctrination, anger and lack of self control is encouraged by a company that often acts like a bully. This is a primary barrier to migration to free software. The Neanderthals don't want to hear about anything new and will tell you that everyone will starve to death if they don't keep chipping flint as they always have. The result of all of this is that people feel like rebels and fear getting fired for discussing useless baby steps like alternate browsers in Microsoft dominated businesses.

The other barriers are technical sabotage, patent extortion, retail blackmail and OEM manipulation. Boycott Novell has covered ACPI sabotage, the high cost of DRM as well as Microsoft's attacks on OEMs, retailers, schools and governments. Taken together all of these are suffocating but unsustainable.

Thankfully the company is not doing well. The cost of their efforts is greater than the monopoly rents they are able to charge. Government enforcement of anti-trust law has been laughable, but it should be strongly encouraged if for nothing other than discovery. We would not know half as much about the company's dirty tricks without their email. I look forward to seeing how poorly they did last quarter.


We have a big backlog of posts that will hopefully add to evidence as noted above. A journey to London next week (for filming of a documentary for national television) requires a lot of preparation.

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

--Albert Einstein

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