I like Open Source. I don’t like Proprietary solutions.
That’s a pretty sweeping statement to make, I know, but that’s my general take on things.
Not just computers you understand. Anything. I don’t want to be tied down to one manufacturer for anything if I can help it.
In many cases manufacturers work together to develop open standards. Ok, we get rival groups – Betamax vs VHS; HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray are two that spring to mind for example. There have been many other cases through history. One solution almost always wins out in the end.
It’s not always technically the best solution either. I remember back in the days of those Video tape format wars, there was, in Europe and the UK at least, another format. Philips released a number of formats, and the one I tried for a while was Philips 2000. The tapes were up to four hours long per side. Per side you say? Yes per side, as like an audio cassette, you played one side, and then turned the tape over, and re-inserted it, and played the other side. There was dynamic tracking too, so none of that messing around with tracking buttons like you had with VHS. Actually Sony’s Betamax was arguably better than JVC’s VHS, but VHS won through because of better marketing. Philips have often come to market with some great ideas, but their marketing tends to suck.
It’s one of the reasons why Microsoft is so successful. Not that they have the best products. You can hardly call innovative either. They tend to copy or buy out other companies ideas and solutions. Lotus 1-2-3 was a far better product than Excel, but Excel became market leader simply because it ran better on Windows that Lotus’ spreadsheet. Same goes for Word over Wordperfect. Of course one they become ‘industry standards’ then most folks learn these applicaiton and become proficient in them so they can get a job working with them. By and large, being proficient in 1-2-3 or Wordperfect isn’t going to impress many interviewers these days.
However, the thing that makes me mad is the way that Microsoft want it all their own way. Not only do they want you to buy their lacklustre Operating Systems (which are popular because they’re bundled on most computers on sale at retail outlets); not only do they want you to use MS-Office products (which are also often bundled on computers for sale to consumers at retail outlets), but they change the file formats that these applications output, so that everyone you send them to, will also have to go out and buy the latest copy. It might be a way to generate sales, but it sucks.
If you use MS-Office at home, why should you have to spend $100+ on upgrades to do this, if you’ve got a perfectly functioning copy of Office 2003 or even 2002, simply to read a new file format? What extra wonderful functionality is in that new .docx format, that I can’t live without anyway?
OpenOffice got ISO9002 certification for their .odt format, but that wasn’t good enough for Microsoft, they sulk and pout becuase they want .docx to have that too. Hang on a minute, you can’t have two standards.
We have a similar issue of course with Internet Explorer. The lousy security aside, why do Microsoft sit down at the W3C table, agree to be part of the standards, and then go off and only implement the bits they feel that they want to?
It’s like Microsoft says OK, lets sit down and see what everyone else is doing. Right, we don’t much like that, and as we’re the biggest in the world, we don’t really give a crap, as we’re going to do our own thing, because everyone will buy our product anyway, whether it’s to an agreed standard or not, because we’re THE standard. Such arrogance.
I’ve no problem with Microsoft being a huge wealthy company. I’ve no problem with sucess. I do have a problem with arrogrance, bullying, and treating everyone else with contempt to get there and remain there though.
Eventually of course, everyone gets ticked off with arrogant bullies, and they get taken down a peg or two. Every dog has its day. No empire lasts forever, and history has shown that over and over.
One day the sun will set on Microsoft, and I doubt few outside of it’s empire will mourn it’s passing.
Tags: audio cassette, best solution, betamax, better marketing, europe, hd dvd vs blu ray, interviewers, lotus, lotus 1 2 3, lotus spreadsheet, market leader, microsoft, open source, philips, proprietary solutions, rival groups, s vhs, sony, video tape format, wordperfect