dont panic 17

dont panic 17

The Computer Column Sing Goddess, the wrath of Microsoft the spawn of Gates, and the innumerable troubles it brought to the people.– The Fensteriad. W...

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The Computer Column Sing Goddess, the wrath of Microsoft the spawn of Gates, and the innumerable troubles it brought to the people.– The Fensteriad. When, in 1975 Computer Taming Gates contacted MITS, the creators of the new Altair 8800 microcomputer, to tell them he was working on an BASIC interpreter for their new computer, did he have any divine precognition that it was the first step to global domination? Probably not, since he didn't own an Altair, nor had he written any programmes for it. What he certainly had was more front than Ms. Parton. MITS agreed to a demonstration, and in the next few weeks Gates Son of Gates and boyhood crony Paul Allen wrote the code, made a successful demo and were taken on as a team, dubbing themselves Micro-soft (cue dramatic drums and trumpets ala Korngold). Microsoft BASIC became very popular with computer hobbyists, and was widely pirated. Gates of the Glancing Glasses waxed wrothfull and wrote several open letters to the hobby community in his devine anger (the response from the pirates was mostly ‘Arrgh! Bill lad, consider ye blood pressure’). And so Gates of the Many Epithets became the great Anti-Pirate (Uniform: badly fitting suit, spectacles, lawyers in background. Sans: Eye patch, parrot, bad Bristol accent.) So, in 1980, now separated from MITS, Microsoft was approached by IBM to write the Basic Interpreter for the shiny new IBM PC. During the subsequent meeting IBM just happened to mention that

they lacked an Operation System, a strange oversite indeed, since without an OS computers have a habit of being useless. Into the breech stepped Gates of the Many Contacts, and after much schmoozing recommended QDOS, an OS written for hardware similar to the PC. Microsoft cleverly glommed the rights to QDOS and after a bit of re-jigging presented IBM with a bouncing baby PC-DOS. Meanwhile Gates of the Cunning Plan insisted on keeping the copyright thereto, for he foresaw that the IBM PC would be cloned like nobody’s business, and right he was, the clever boy. From there on things started to spiral into control, for in 1985 Microsoft released Windows, and in 1986 floated on the stock market (Microsoft shares have created 4 billionaires and approximately 12 000 millionaires, don't it just make you sick?). In 1989 they released Microsoft Office, that valuable tool. Of course this all made their competitors greener than grass, and both the US government and the EU have had a go at reigning in the beast, but were mostly blocked by Lawyer Retaining Gates. So were does this leave us, the lowly Helots? With a pretty much universal software system, cranky in parts, but so amazingly widely used that any criticism must be balanced against the very real benefits to humanity. True mythology in the making. Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. Bill Gates