- Capitalism and Alternatives -

A couple of comments

Posted by: Farinata ( L'inferno ) on February 28, 19100 at 14:53:23:

In Reply to: The 'room at the top' is not finite but infinite. posted by Frenchy on February 28, 19100 at 13:55:28:

: Again, WRONG! The 'room at the top' is not finite but infinite. The computer revolution has only just begun and the next major economic revolution seems to be taking shape in the bioengineering field, after a seemingly rough start. Where will the following economic upheaval be?

"No one can examine the panorama of business and finance in America during the past half-dozen years without realising that we are living in a new era".

Would you agree with the above statement?

: : The internet, however, is an example of PUBLIC FUNDING and SOCIALIZED LABOR more than it symbolizes entrepreneurial intrepidity. After all, the internet was a creation of the Pentagon in the late 1960s, a creation resulting from the research of many people, and made possible by the American tax-payer. All Bill Gates et. al did was take what the public ALREADY PAID FOR, throw some wrapping paper over it, and RE-SELL IT TO THEM.

: OK, but who's to say wheather or not we'd have a useable and cheap internet today w/o the marketing genius of Gates?

FYI, Frenchy, Microsoft didn't even consider the 'net worthy of comment until 1994; it was only in mid-1994 that they realised that the 'net was a potential profit-earner; which is when they made their infamous off to Netscape.

(MS said to Netscape: "Hey, if you give us a cut of the profits, we'll bundle your software with Windows '95; to which Netscape said: "that's uncompetitive and unfair to the users" - to which MS said "O.K., then we'll bury you and wipe out your product" - which is where Internet Explorer comes from; and why the not-noticeably-generous Microsoft corporation came to give away their products for free.

The exact phrase used by Microsoft was 'knife the baby', IIRC.)

There have been precisely zero major innovations w.r.t. the net since 1994; streaming video, 'net commerce and the like all use existing languages and libraries; I remember downloading MPEGs from NASA back in 1993 using NCSA Mosaic; it was slower, but very little has actually changed since then.

The cost to access the net has also remained constant; the price of a local phone call for us in the UK.

It would be fair and accurate to say that Microsoft has contributed nothing to the 'net; they have merely used (and abused) existing protocols to produce revenue for themselves; in cases like Java, Microsoft has tampered with an open standard (that didn't belong to them) in an effort to give themselves an advantage, which is why they are being taken to court by Sun Microsystems.

Example in point: Internet Information Server v4 (IIS); Microsoft's laughably bad attempt at a Web server, actually makes pages uglier if you're not using a Microsoft browser; use Netscape to view an IIS-hosted 'site and the text can be distorted pretty hideously - typically the font size and style is changed.

Example #2: Microsoft developed ActiveX to compete with Java; except that ActiveX was an abortion of a product; it is laughably insecure and a real threat to your computer.

If you go to this page without the proper security settings using Internet Explorer, the ActiveX control embedded in the page will reboot your computer; losing any unsaved work and possibly corrupting files.

And that's a *benign* example; it would be a childishly simple task to write an ActiveX control that issued a 'deltree c:\' to your computer; which would wipe your hard drive (without asking you!). The CCC in Germany demonstrated that they could use similar methods to extract data from financial programs like Quicken; your confidential financial records, including things like credit card numbers (if you were foolish enough to store them on your computer).

This would happen (without your knowledge or consent) if you tried to access a website using Windows and with Internet Explorer set to default security settings.

That's why the page I cited is titled "ActiveX - or how to put nuclear bombs in web pages"...

Did you get any warning from Microsoft that they'd shipped you something that could be exploited so dangerously?

Did you even get warned that computer security was something you had responsibility for?

Of course not; once you've paid your Microsoft tax on your new PC, you are on your own; a position similar to shoving a toddler on a trike into the middle of a freeway and telling them to move along...

You might say that this is the fault of malicious coders out there; but it's naive to expect everyone to be benign out there; the onus is also on you to make sure that you're not walking around with your wallet hanging out. Java doesn't suffer from security holes in comparison; because it was designed with security in mind.

(Except for Microsoft's version of the Java Virtual Machine; which has a big fat security hole in...because they didn't stick to the Java specifications.)

Microsoft has done nothing for the net; except increased the number of people on it who have no idea what security is and provided them with an expensive, bloated and insecure OS to hurt themselves with.

(Where do we want you to go today?)

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup