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Just a thought
Just a quick thought, after reading some online opinions to the
effect of "leave MS alone, look at what they brought us:"
A lot of people say that we are indebted to Microsoft for bringing us
cheap and easy to use computers; for creating stability and a common
standard... just think how difficult it would be to share documents
if not everybody used Word...
But I believe if we had real competition, only then would we have a
REAL incentive for stability and common standards.
Imagine a world with some 6 or more popular desktop OS's, three or
four *common* hardware platforms (instead of just Intel), and a
handfull or more major packages in each application category:
There'd be a common API subset between OS's, so that they can share
the market of applications. Of course it wouldn't be entirely
homogenous. But a vendor would have to think hard before he publishes
an incompatible API to existing functionality, instead of just
creating an OS that implements the common ground PLUS some
enhancements. And many "enhancements" would be hidden behind existing
API's. (example: OS Y would provide the same filesystem calls as OS
X, but provide the ability to transparently treat a URL as if it were
There'd be a real incentive for common file formats for sharing data,
where applications can recognise and ignore, with a warning, special
extensions of competitors' products they can't deal with.
Few companies would have the power to build up massive "office
suites", so there'd be a real incentive for open API's to integrate
and share data. Instead of buying MS Office, you'd compose your own
suite consisting of your favorite word processor, spreadsheet etc.
In a scenario like this, where no OS vendor can provide such massive
amounts of applications, there'd be a real incentive for a clean and
OS-mediated process of installing and de-installing applications. So
that it might be rather trivial to fill in an on-line questionairre
to a computer reseller, marking that you want OS X with browser Y and
calculator Z; and have them all automatically burned onto a CD and
mailed to you.
In fact, the supposed stability we have at the moment, which MS is
credited for, is dismall. Every few years brings a new Windows and
new incompatibilities. Owners of the latest and greatest Office can't
share files with Aunt Bertha who still owns a Win 3.1 - capable
computer with Word 2. The costs to the industry are enormous.
I'm all for innovation. But there are other ways of innovation than
rendering entire swathes of the application market obsolete
Frankly, I don't think that breaking up the MS monopoly would be such
a sad day for the software industry which is "doing so tremendously
well precisely because it had not been interfered with."
/_) /| /
/ i e t e r / |/ a g e l