[svlug] aberrant thought
Karsten M. Self
kmself at ix.netcom.com
Thu Feb 19 22:10:11 PST 2004
on Wed, Feb 18, 2004 at 09:35:02PM -0800, David E. Fox (dfox at m206-157.dsl.tsoft.com) wrote:
> On Wed, 18 Feb 2004 13:30:35 -0800
> "Karsten M. Self" <kmself at ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> > Microsoft offered a piece of the puzzle. Namely a ubiqitous landscape
> > of cheap and open computer hardware (the x86 platform).
> I think the openness of the hardware had a lot to do with it. Had IBM
> for instance not opened up the X86 specification
Compaq reverse-engineered the x86 BIOS:
> , and remained a closed design (like Apple) I seriously doubt that
> we'd even be having this discussion.
Sure we would. The world was waiting for an open hardware architecture.
x86 filled that role. If it hadn't, something else would have.
Eventually. The open contender would have won out in the end.
> To me, much of the open source movement goes back to pre-1980, to CP/M
> and other pre-MS stuff. Remember the famous "Open letter to pirates"
I wrote a bit on this recently:
"Bill Gates ported a BASIC interpreter he found in a Dumpster from
PDP-11 to the 8080 using an 8080 emulator developed by Paul Allen as
a test bed. (According to quotes from Gates and the narrative in
"Inside legacy MS Windows NT"). "
Rex Ballard, posting to c.o.l.a
Rex is a long-time regular on several advocacy groups. His grasp
and knowledge of facts and cites is profound.
Note Rex's comment:
The true innovation that made Bill Gates a billionaire happened
after all of the dealers canceled their "Licenses". Bill went
back to MITS and told the owner (Ed Roberts) that if MITS didn't
pay $150,000 and $50/copy for anything over 3000 licences that
he would write a BASIC for the SWTP 6800 machine. Gates used the
$150,000 to pay for the porting to the Commodore PET BASIC in
Leveraging a position (I wouldn't call it a monopoly at the time),
blanket licensing. Ever since reading the Letter to Hobbyists, I've
been convinced that Gates had it all figured out since at least
1976. The rest was implementation details.
A friend who worked at Intel in the 1980s told me of a meeting he
participated in, ~1980, in which Gates and another individual
(possibly Ballmer) from MicroSoft (as it was at the time) met with
several parties, including a now-deceased Intel VP, with a proposal
to "divide the computer market". IBM would get business systems.
Intel would get embedded controllers (my friend is responsible for a
chip of which there are now more of than people on the planet), and
MicroSoft would get the hobbyist market. In the post-meeting
debrief, the VP said, "Gentlemen, what our friends from Seattle have
just proposed is a textbook case of anti-trust abuse".
Intel's goal has always been to dominate the microprocessor market.
While it's had some brushes with the law and DoJ, these have largely
been settled quickly and quietly.
> I remember a somewhat significant article in the early 80s - was in
> 80-Micro. It was a feature on a database system and the author put a
> statement on the front cover releasing the entire source code for it. He
> said, among other things "that he wanted to set a standard" and I recall
> it made an impact at our local TRS-90 user group back then.
> > - AT&T's antitrust consent decree, which prohibited it from entering
> > the computer operating systems market (though it was called
> The divestiture of AT&T in 1984 must have made a great impact as well.
Note that the 1984 divestiture was the end of *seventy-one years* of
ongoing anti-trust actions against American Telephone and Telegraph Co.
> With AT&T as a monopoly in telecommunications, the Internet may never
> have happened
Another famous story is [D]ARPA's presentation of TCP/IP to AT&T in what
must have been the early 1970s. AT&T looked at the techology, and
refused to participate, with a response along the lines of "we're not
going to work on something that makes us obsolete". I couldn't Google a
reference, perhaps some of the Net geezers here are familiar with the
> - at least not the way is is nowadays. AT&T most likely
> were not going to replace their investment in copper for probable
> decades' worth of depreciation.
Yeah, and look where that got 'em.
Disruptive technology, she's a real bitch.
Karsten M. Self <kmself at ix.netcom.com> http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
Go through his clothes and look for loose change.
- Princess Bride
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