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October 26th, 2017

I No Longer Hate Microsoft

Why should you let Microsoft ruin an otherwise perfect day?

microsoft windows blue screen of death bsod

Roblimo’s Hideaway

When I was younger, I got together with friends now and then for an evening of drinking beer and discussing the perfidy of Microsoft and just how bad Windows was technically, especially considering the endless amount of R&D money poured into it.

Nowadays I am tired of hating, and if I decide to take it up again as a hobby I can think of many better targets for my bile than Microsoft. Really. Certain terrorist groups, American politicians we won’t name here, and N. Korean dictators are all worse than Microsoft when it comes to pure “ruin the world” evil. Even worse, Bill Gates has gone from exploiter and astroturfer-in-chief to (possibly) the most generous philanthropist in history.

I mean, how can you hate someone who goes around wiping out deadly diseases?

That depends on how long a memory you have, and mine can go to the moon and back, no problem, so Microsoft astroturf makes me madder today than it did when it was fresh because it was the original “fake news” that started chipping away at people’s trust in American journalism — and you know where that led.

But I don’t think anyone at Microsoft anticipated the 2016/2017 political scene back when they started down the highway to astroturf. They just wanted people to believe Windows was more reliable than it really was, and that Microsoft was a benevolent uncle of a company, not a greedy, grasping corporate monster.

And then something amazing happened…

Windows kept some of its worst malignancies intact, including its need to be rebooted half a dozen times on every install, but the past few versions have been fairly stable. I have Windows and Linux running side-by-side on my desk, and I can’t say that I notice the old Windows/Linux pattern, where Windows crashes at least once a day while Linux just goes (as the song says) “on and on…

I personally attribute this improvement in Windows to Linux. All that good stuff about competition, you know. So yes, every Windows user should say “thank you” to every Linux developer. It won’t happen, but I’ve long thought it should.

Anyway, Linux and Windows are both far more usable by ordinary people than either one was 10 years ago. So why should I hate Windows or Microsoft? It doesn’t do any good.

Besides, I now do nearly half of my “computing” in Android. Should I start hating Android now?

I don’t think so. Aside from anything else, I’m just too old to waste my time hating — although if you want to hate Microsoft a little for me, purely for old time’s sake, I won’t get in your way. 🙂

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Robin "Roblimo" Miller

Robin "Roblimo" Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he's mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.

12 comments to I No Longer Hate Microsoft

  • xABBAAA

    I don’t hate anybody, never was, nor I will…

    So! I guess the center in my brain responsible for that will never evolve after all. Who cares, it is the way I am. Blame, system, my parents, me self. Don’t care about that stuff.

    When I will trust MS, well there is four levels in the kernel and only two are accessible to the average programmer.
    Why things need to be that complicated, well we know now.

    Ah, yeah… there is a…

  • Mike S.

    I’m very grateful that old versions of Microsoft Windows crashed left and right. I would have never found Linux otherwise!

    Today I care about free software because I care about freedom. Eighteen years ago I got interested in free software because I didn’t have enough money to buy all the copies of Windows my family needed and I was sick to death of dealing with crashes and reinstalls.

  • Kevin

    What a splendidly written puff piece. Do you feel that Microsoft’s advertising branch can’t endear Microsoft to open source thoroughly enough?

    Sure, Microsoft has been contributing to open source. Sure it has some redeeming qualities. But it still ships Windowson almost every computer on the market, it still bids against free software in the government sector, it has no real interest in interoperability or consumer choice.

    It’s nice that you’ve decided you’re too old to care about these things, but don’t try to normalize a corrupt and harmful corporation.

  • TWP

    I guess I’m unrepentant… I would prefer to retain control of my computer systems.

    Perhaps “hate” is too strong a term, but “Intense, active dislike bordering on paranoia” might be more accurate.

    The old saw: “once burned, twice shy” is very accurate with respect to my experiences with the Redmond products.

    I have burned that bridge, cut the telegraph wires and maintain an ongoing jamming operation for all things MSish.

    I could go on, but I think you get the drift…

  • Eddie G

    Roblimo? I will always respect your writing, and give you kudos for voicing your opinion….but in this case? This is surely something you could have kept to yourself. I have been a Windows LAN Admin since ’99, and I have USED almost EVERY version of Windows since ’95….and I tell you this. Microsoft could “dress” Windows up to look like Linux, act like Linux, sound like Linux and perform like Linux, but deep down? the one thing that will forever keep them separate? is MICROSOFT IS NOT LINUX! nor will it EVER be! Great that it works for you on whatever machine you use it on, its great that you run it side by side with Linux, its great that you find nothing “really” that bad about the OS…..but others? people who know better?…people who have read articles about the Patent lawsuits AGAINST open source software, and their initiatives?…will keep the OS as FAR AWAY from their systems as possible….forever. I too have been burned by thinking MS might be onto something regarding their latest OS, only to be left surrounded in ashes of regret. I have long since then decided I’d rather run a Linux distro on the oldest crappiest piece of hardware known to man, before I even consider running MS on a brand new device. And I know its sounds like I’m full of nothing but hatred for the company, but if you read articles about the lawsuits that are taking place, “behind the scenes” maybe you wouldn’t be so gung-ho in using and “supporting” (because we all know you don’t get the OS for FREE!) an OS from a company that is double-tounged and untrustworthy. When you add-in the spying that takes place with Windows, how you could use it at all is truly wondrous. Just remember,….there are more people who have their eyes open than who have their eyes shut….and you “promoting” or supporting a company like this? speaks volumes…so maybe you wanna be a little less “vocal” about using this OS? I’m just sayin’

  • “Hate” is indeed too strong a word, but I definitely think it’s a good idea to treat Android with skepticism. Google is not your friend, and Android, while nominally open, is a security and privacy nightmare.

    My phone’s currently running LineageOS and doesn’t have Gapps installed, so it’s a lot better than a stock Android install. But that’s not a reasonable solution for most users, and it still requires proprietary blobs to work.

  • Randal

    “Besides, I now do nearly half of my “computing” in Android. Should I start hating Android now?”

    In 2003, there was a writer who recommended something interesting. Put Windows as a shell, on a Linux core.
    Guess effectively what Android is (and why you don’t hate it).
    The site is no longer as it was distributed by PBS:
    I Cringely What Lies Beneath.

    Everybody must decide for themselves, including if your going to use the provided for you computers on a job, that may be Windows. I keep a Windows box for games. I prefer Linux for everything else, but not all “my” pc’s are mine to control, as both work and Microsoft have rights.

  • Mike

    Microsoft hasn’t changed.

    They are still the dirty aggressor they’ve always been.

    If you use Windows, you’ve given up on privacy and the right to control your own data.

  • @Randal I have a Windows laptop that was “provided for me” by a publisher that employs me. I start it up once a week so it can update itself, but haven’t used it since I received it. I do all of my work from my home office on my Linux desktop, and when I go to a conference I carry one of my Linux laptops. I personally find myself pulling hair from my head whenever I’m forced to work on Windows.

  • Earl

    Like Mike S., I too found Linux when an update almost hosed my copy of Windows 2000. After 2 hours of fixing things the first thing I did was search on ‘alternate operating system’. This thing called Linux popped up, starting a 17 year journey that is still going strong. I use Linux at work as well, so I can honestly say I wouldn’t use Windows if you paid me.

  • Kevin M

    Some of my current complaints against Microsoft and Windows…

    They seem to be funding a proxy patent war against Foss

    They are in an embrace stage and we need to remain optimistic yet vigilant.

    They change the GUI style quicker than the fashion industry changes clothing styles. It’s gotten to the point where I have begun memorizing the cpl commands for the control panel because it is easier. Meanwhile at home I have been using gnome 2/mate for almost 2 decades.

  • @Kevin M: If I wanted to point to a stable UI that hasn’t changed in radical and obnoxious ways, GNOME wouldn’t be my first example. It’s not so much that the Linux world doesn’t see huge and unwelcome UI overhauls as that when it happens there, someone forks the old codebase instead of a bunch of people just staying on the previous version.

    (And how early into the development cycle did you start using GNOME 2 that you’ve been using it for “almost 2 decades”? 2.0 was released 15 years ago.)

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