Their foundation has done a lot of good, but it doesn't exist in a vacuum. Why does it have all that money in the first place?
Well, mostly because Microsoft managed to work itself into a monopoly position with dirty tactics, and the proliferation of their own proprietary file formats. This meant that millions of people and organizations had to pay the Microsoft tax, which was later used to start the B&M Gates Foundation.
How many millions of US$ would those people have donated to charity if their budgets hadn't been constrained by purchasing Microsoft software? Some of them were probably African countries that could have used that money to buy vaccines 10 years ago.
Don't get me wrong, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is doing some good work now, but to only look at their current donations is to only see the tip of the iceberg.
There are few OSS projects that have done anything more than steal ideas from commercial software in terms of innovation. Programming languages are the only place I can think of that OSS is cutting edge.
MS pushed the boundaries of software to the extreme. Go look at any of their competitors at the age of their dominance. Man, look at Netscape navigator in its bloated unusable form when IE6 came out. Compare Excel to Lotus 123. Or Outlook to Lotus Notes.
MS didn't win because it was evil. It won because it was very, very, very, very, very good.
Google is winning now, with its even more extremely closed source software known as google search, because it is very, very, very good. It's just pretending to support OSS. Without actually giving away the crown jewels.
And MS still is very good in a lot of fields, OSes being the primary one. Only Apple is a close competitor and it's a lot more expensive.
So get off your soapbox and smell reality. The overall benefit MS software has donated to the world is worth many more trillions of dollars than the licenses cost.
Surely you're joking? Outlook is a crappy email client. Mutt which is older than I am, handles mail better than Outlook does, I hate using Outlook. It means archiving my mail every month (several accounts over several PST files over an a very high mail volume). Ever since it's beginning outlook was the crappiest mail software. You can't figure out what the hell it's doing and it crashes all the damn time without error or with generic/cryptic ones. The only way to fix it is to wipe your settings from the hard drive, and reset registry keys to defaults. And if that doesn't work reinstall office.
Not to mention compiz/beryl had desktop effects before any other operating system. Linux in the kernel level has removed the need for file polling, replacing it with iwatch. Linux has on demand file system and virtual file system mounting. There are hardly any drivers for file systems or virtual file systems on Windows. Dokan is the only place where you can get FUSE or SSH and the software is crappy.
MS to this day hasn't standardized it's own security structure (EX: runas.exe in XP will have the processes pass on administrator rights to all child processes 7 doesn't neither does Vista). And lets face it on the top of it's game Windows default security could have been over-riden by pressing cancel on the logon screen. On anything but a fickle consumer and ease level Windows and to some extent OSX (although the use of a BSD kernel and the growth of MacPorts mitigates this a bit) don't hold a candle to the features found in Linux.
You seem to equate success and innovation with sales and press releases. In this case you probably think that MS is doing something revolutionary by letting Xboxes read usb drives.
Surely you're joking. First, Outlook isn't for anyone who'd be comfortable operating mutt. Period. Second, sure, Outlook has stupid design-decisions. But nobody claimed that Outlook is perfect, it was argued that Outlook was better than Lotus Notes which is was competing against when it was launched. And it was (and is), leaps and bounds. Third, Outlook isn't just a mail client, it's an integrated communications suite. It has taken OSS years and years to catch up with this. You may not agree that it's a critical feature, but for millions of business users, it's a deal-breaker.
There's good innovation in the kernel-space, too, but user-facing apps are playing catch-up.
KDE has had very good PIM software for a while now even before KDE4. Kontact has always been a suite for that kind of stuff, and it's possible to do most things in Outlook in Kontact. Also if you're talking about Exchange and groupware servers there are a few for Linux like Zimbra. However I haven't even seen Fortune 500 companies make most of the use of Exchange features.
Also your measure for success is very shallow. Essentially you don't see OSS as competition, which belies your actual position and tells me that there's no point in arguing this with you considering your mind is made up about OSS. As far as I'm concerned all vendor software loses out because it's missing basic features from a IT management standpoint. Also from my experiences millions of business users are too stupid to use Outlook in any shape or form because they lack basic computer proficiency skills.
You’re joking, right? Mac OS X has always had some sort of desktop effects. Hardware accelerated Quartz Extreme was part of 10.2 in 2002. And Exposé was introduced in 2003… All before Compiz/beryl.
As long as we're comparing who did what first (as if that's relevant today), ReadDirectoryChangesW came in Windows 2000. inotify came in 2005.
> MS to this day hasn't standardized it's own security structure (EX: runas.exe in XP will have the processes pass on administrator rights to all child processes 7 doesn't neither does Vista)
Given that Vista overall has a rather different security structure from XP, I don't see how this is relevant.
> And lets face it on the top of it's game Windows default security could have been over-riden by pressing cancel on the logon screen
Amusingly, this just displays your own naivete. The only way to get security if someone has physical access is through cryptography. Pressing cancel on a local login screen is equivalent to booting into single user mode or just using a boot disk and wiping out the local administrator's password.
> You seem to equate success and innovation with sales and press releases.
Microsoft Research is the most prolific non-university academic CS research lab in the world. The people that work there are all truly brilliant. (disclosure: I did an internship there this summer)
Inotify was a replacement for dnotify. Which was there since 2.4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dnotify
Also comparing the two subsystems is entirely wrong. ReadDirectoryChangesW is still a polling mechanism, inotify and dnotify are kernel level events.
>Amusingly, this just displays your own naivete. The only way to get security if someone has physical access is through cryptography. Pressing cancel on a local login screen is equivalent to booting into single user mode or just using a boot disk and wiping out the local administrator's password.
You're just being an obstinate child here. There's a difference when anyone can defeat your security, and when knowledgeable people can defeat your security. Why do company's take people of the premises when they're fired? Because it's easier for them to lash out, and cause damage. Well it's certainly easier for a passerby to break into your system by pressing cancel. Outside physical threats are always there, especially in the form of delivery men. What's the point of even password protecting something when the UPS guy can come and hit cancel cause he has 95 at home? Not only that but you still need a password for single user mode, and it would take a bit longer for him if he had a boot disk.
>Microsoft Research is the most prolific non-university academic CS research lab in the world. The people that work there are all truly brilliant. (disclosure: I did an internship there this summer)
This isn't about Microsoft Research, this is about Microsoft products. This is a completely irrelevant point. MSR is a fine institution which is a great place for academic papers, they don't generally develop products for Microsoft.
Don't talk shit about stuff you know nothing about.
> Also comparing the two subsystems is entirely wrong. ReadDirectoryChangesW is still a polling mechanism, inotify and dnotify are kernel level events.
ReadDirectoryChangesW sleeps while there aren't any changes and only returns once there are some changes. Efficiency-wise there isn't any real difference between kernel-level events and sleeping on a different thread, and I don't see one as clearly better than the other. After all, waking a thread up is also a kernel-level event!
> Not only that but you still need a password for single user mode, and it would take a bit longer for him if he had a boot disk.
Who cares? The difference in the level of security you get is a small epsilon. You either don't care about physical attacks, in which case you don't care whether it takes 5 seconds or 5 minutes to break, or you do care about physical attacks, in which case you encrypt your data.
Of course, your entire point is irrelevant -- calling Windows 9x "on the top of it's [sic] game" in terms of security is lying. Windows 9x was insecure in much more serious ways than a stupid login prompt. Windows NT-based systems, especially Vista onwards, are much more effectively designed.
> This isn't about Microsoft Research, this is about Microsoft products. This is a completely irrelevant point.
You used the words "success" and "innovation". The fact that MSR exists and is as good as it is, is an important part of Microsoft's success as a whole, and there's no lack of innovation on display there (witness Street Slide for a recent example). To consider "success" and "innovation" only in terms of released products is myopic.
Google search is not closed source as it is a hosted service. It would be if it was redistributed under closed source license. This is why RMS himself said he uses Google.
> It's just pretending to support OSS. Without actually giving away the crown jewels.
It has not given sources, but Google gave many papers about the technics they use such as map/reduce and compression which enable projects such hadoop, yahoo search and even Bing.
Where exactly did he say this? He's opposed cloud services from the beginning and designed GPLv3 to attack web apps.
Last I checked, the man scarcely browsed the web.
Hence, he was still lying about Stallman "using Google search".
My cry of shenanigans stands.
Or your point is totally fucking retarded. One or the other...
I really can't make the distinction.
Bill Gates didn't become rich because Microsoft managed to work itself into a monopoly position with dirty tactics. The whole problem people have with Microsoft is that they abused their monopoly in one area to gain a foothold in another! They already had a virtual monopoly on desktop computers. How did they get there?
By having smart people and making really good software that more or less worked everywhere.
When Microsoft started becoming evil they were already fully entrenched in the market.
Yes, I'm sure that any money left over from a large corporation's IT budget would have gone straight into the donation budget.
About charity, Microsoft may have improved, but a few years ago standard operating procedure was for the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to tie charitable work to large Microsoft purchases. If a government bought from Microsoft, the foundation would come in and start providing assistance. If the government went to Linux, the foundation would pick up and leave.
The use of this tactic has left me with a bad impression of said foundation, despite all of the unquestioningly good work they do. (They may have gut this out more recently. I no longer pay attention to Microsoft now that it is clear that they aren't going to be able to destroy the parts of the IT world that I care about.)
Regardless of your opinions on their specific business practices, I think the OP's point still stands: its difficult at best to laude someone for giving away money that to some extent was derived illegally.
*I heard about this several years ago so would be happy to be told they've changed this. Their response was that the fund management and philanthropic arms of the foundation were firewalled and the former's directive was to simply maximize growth. I find this unfortunate at best.
There was an informed article in The Nation which touched upon the undemocratic vision the Gates Foundation allegedly has; people affected by poverty do struggle to fix their own problems in a self-governing way. Elite benefactors like Gates or Soros may conceivably help to strengthen the systems which make it hard to self-govern, along with whatever benefits they accomplish.
(Incidentally, I don't see why Gates is considered a particularly predatory businessman. He just happened to be the one who succeeded, as usually happens; and other businesspeople don't like an entity with the resulting market power. He might be a much nicer guy than many of his competitors, for all I know.)