M$ Does Less

Steve Ballmer said, “Apple, Ballmer said, is about being "fashionable," while Amazon is about being "cheap," and Google is about "knowing more." Microsoft, Ballmer said, is about "doing more."”

see In last company meeting, Ballmer calls Apple 'fashionable,' says Microsoft about 'doing more'.

Perhaps Ballmer doesn’t really understand M$. That’s why he’s leaving. M$ is about doing less, not more. M$ does less to rake in a dollar than most other businesses, by leveraging its monopoly. It doesn’t really need to sell a product, its product is shipped by default, occupies space on retail shelves by default and is bought with PCs, bundled with the hardware. It didn’t even need to compete until a few years ago. Sure it makes software but the cost of making the software is tiny, per copy, when hundreds of millions of copies are sold per annum. It’s the OEMs, the retailers, the consumers and the fix-it guys who do all the work while M$ grew fat on the revenue. The users certainly don’t do more. They suffer the re-re-reboots, the missing drivers, the slowing down, the malware and the re-installations. Out of ignorance they pay $hundreds to have a “broken hard drive” repaired for the umpteenth time or just buy another PC hoping it will be more reliable than the last one. Out of ignorance, they blame the hardware rather than M$ for the “breakage”.

GNU/Linux is the OS that’s about doing more. I blog, I crunch numbers, I edit graphics, I search huge databases of text and data which I store on my PC as well as the Internet and I use multiple PCs as if they were one using Debian GNU/Linux. That’s the right way to do IT, the right way to do more. I have never had malware despite running without firewall or anti-virus software on hundreds of PCs and servers for many years. I have never had a PC slow down unless it was doing multiple big jobs for me. I haven’t paid a penny to M$ for my software. I haven’t had to re-install or reboot as a normal part of my use of computers. I have two or three times as much going on as I could with that other OS. That other OS is about doing less.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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29 Responses to M$ Does Less

  1. oiaohm says:

    Dr Loser its not just iptables. Its /proc and /sys file system areas and many other areas that Android applications access.

    By the way iptables itself is small but the systematics of Netfilter behind iptables. Please note droidwall is shiping with its own binary copy of iptables. Dr Loser it would be simple if you could just replace the applications in userspace. The problem here Linux syscall system is exposed. So its not the 6000+ of iptables code that is the problem. Its the number of lines that calls and interacts with. Yes you have to clone the full netfilter solution.

    As I said hard to impossible. Why impossible sections of netfilter are patented. This is what QNX emulating Android run into.

    Yes its not that simple to clone Linux Kernel features under a different license its barbed wired.

    BSD firewall is missing particular features the Linux kernel firewall has because they cannot be implemented under BSD license.

    Dr Loser yes BSD has something similar but its no match. The match could end up costing you 100 dollars per unit in patent licenses.


    –Dr Loser if Google goes freebsd instead of Linux kernel. Google would have to pay IBM and others patent licenses to add features the Linux kernel has.–

    Pure fantasy. If those features are already present, then Google has already come to an arrangement.–

    Its not pure fantasy is you not understanding the problem. The Linux RCU that is based on IBM design is free patent license for LGPL/GPL code bases. Then you have KSM from VMWare this is only a free patent license for GPLv2 code bases.

    These are not only features in Linux where you need patent license and the patent license is granted free of charge for a GPLv2 code base Dr Loser. Using a BSD licensed code base you have to pay for these features. To submit core code to the Linux kernel parties submitting have to agree to license compatible with GPL with no charges on GPL items.

    Basically there is a huge list of patent license Google gets for free by using the Linux Kernel.

    Microsoft thinks the 8 dollars per unit for Fat patents is a problem. The patent problems going BSD under Android are in fact massive. So bad you would have to give up any possibility of making a profit.

  2. lpbbear says:

    Dr Loser October 1st, 2013
    “Try harder.”

    GFY

  3. Dr Loser says:

    Dr Loser if Google goes freebsd instead of Linux kernel. Google would have to pay IBM and others patent licenses to add features the Linux kernel has.

    Pure fantasy. If those features are already present, then Google has already come to an arrangement.

    The OS is, in this case, irrelevant.

    Try harder.

  4. Dr Loser says:

    Dr Loser there is a technical reason why changing the kernel under Android is insanely hard to impossible.

    Do tell.

    Dr Loser tell me what other OS in existence has iptables

    It’s not magic, you know. *BSDs have these, for example. You could almost certainly map the iptables API onto the native one.

    But let’s assume this is a show-stopper. Let’s assume you need to port iptables, pure and unsullied and worthless as it is.

    Do you know how many lines of C code that is? Six thousand, four hundred and eight eight, that’s how many. I’ve just downloaded it and checked it.

    Next insurmountable issue, please?

  5. oiaohm wrote, “Google did look at freebsd when Android was designed.”

    I think that may have been where Google went wrong. They used a lot of libraries and licences that were BSDish instead of sticking with GNU… They seemed to have this foolish idea that OEMs would love BSDish licences and hate GPL. All kinds of OEMs are shipping GNU/Linux with no problems whatsoever.

  6. dougman says:

    Lets all re-read this article:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer

    “The quote in this article that is most telling is from the Microsoft engineer who said “One of the most valuable things I learned was to give the appearance of being courteous while withholding just enough information from colleagues to ensure they didn’t get ahead of me on the rankings.” When engineers like this are interviewing potential new hires for Microsoft, they undoubtedly will act in a way that ensures the worst possible people are hired so the interviewer’s ranking will be better. When those new hires are interviewing people, the same process will repeat so the quality of employees at Microsoft will get worse each cycle. The end result is a company full of dummies and the release of products like Windows 8.”

    So in essence M$ is doing less and less and less each year, how can anyone be impassioned to work in such an environment? Oh I know, complain to the government about finding competent programmers and getting their way with importing contract workers for a lesser rate.

    When Windows 10 comes out, M$ will only have to worry about fixing their cloud – OS and not your PC anymore.

    So in M$ eyes, less IS more.

  7. oiaohm says:

    Dr Loser there is a technical reason why changing the kernel under Android is insanely hard to impossible.

    https://code.google.com/p/droidwall/
    Read the requirements of this Application. Dr Loser tell me what other OS in existence has iptables.

    This is the big problem there are a lot of applications for android using direct Linux Kernel features like iptables.

    –Nothing special about any OS at all, these days.–
    This is not true. What is special about the Linux kernel to Android applications is it direct kernel provided interfaces to application space.

    FreeBSD and Solarias due to there jail system and zones systems to attempt to pretend to be a Linux kernel are the two closest possibilities to swap under Android.

    Dr Loser if Google goes freebsd instead of Linux kernel. Google would have to pay IBM and others patent licenses to add features the Linux kernel has.

    Yes another technical reason not to go anything bar Linux Kernel and GPLv2 at core.

    Google did look at freebsd when Android was designed.

  8. Dr Loser says:

    Oh, and Dougie?
    Practise your reading skills. Did I so much as hint at the possibility of “Forking Linux over BSD?”

    Porting Android over to FreeBSD is, shall we say, a more realistic possibility. Technically. Not commercially.

    It might very well be “the stupidest idea I have ever heard in my life,” but since it’s your idea and the only person you are trying to sell it to is yourself, I have to question who, here, is being stupid…

  9. Dr Loser says:

    Dougie: I never even mentioned M$.

    Robert: Yes, you are correct. It would be commercially pointless to port Android to FreeBSD.

    My sole point is that, technically, it would be quite simple.

    As a matter of fact (and there are even more commercial reasons not to do this, but they’re not the ones you’re thinking of) there’s no reason at all not to port it on top of Windows NT.

    Nothing special about any OS at all, these days.

  10. dougman says:

    Loser, ignores the obvious like a typical troll. BAHHH, M$ is GOD don’t says bad things about Windows or I hate you, arrrrrrrrrr!

    Ignatius brought up a good point.

    Netscape, was underhanded by M$ when it gave away ist IE browser for free.

    Now that Google is doing this with Android and a host of other services, M$ calls foul.

    Karma is a B1TCH.

    Forking Linux over BSD? Thats the stupidest idea I have ever heard in my life. Thats like saying shouldn’t we fork Windows over Linux….wait… that may just work and may save M$.

    Google did it right with Android and ChromeOS and became the leader in those regards.

  11. DrLoser wrote, ” The Linux kernel is not, in any way at all, indispensable.”

    Of course it’s not but once software is ported to work with Linux, there will be some cost to port to another OS, a little cost for *NIX, or a big cost with that other OS. Last time I checked, M$ hated to give away its OS, which is bloated compared to the *NIXes anyway.

  12. Dr Loser says:

    That’s an interesting question, bw, and I’m not really qualified to answer it.

    But, despite what the desperados on this blog proclaim, “Android” depends on nothing more than a Dalvik JVM, associated (Java) libraries, and a number of hardware drivers built, essentially, on the simplistic Linux bitstream model.

    There’s no compelling commercial reason to fork Android on top of FreeBSD (or, for that matter, QNX or anything else).

    But there’s no compelling technical reason not to do so, either.

    Trust me. The Linux kernel is not, in any way at all, indispensable.

  13. bw says:

    starting to crumble. It began decades ago…

    Your use of “crumble” is as counter-sensible as dougman’s use of “reeks”. If crumble means to grow 20 times larger over the 20 years that it has been crumbling now, then OK, but you look foolish.

  14. bw says:

    There’s no technical reason why Android shouldn’t run on, say, FreeBSD

    Isn’t Android supplied as a unified whole, take it or leave it? If Google were to substitute code segments lifted from FreeBSD for equivalent Linux code segments, it could still be called Android, but doubtless a new version, say Baked Alaska.

  15. bw says:

    Also, we all know that Windows licenses cost money as M$ is a FOR profit company, to argue otherwise reeks of common sense

    Oh, where to begin! You are such a mental slob that trying to improve you in any way seems hopeless. And you lack pride. Numerous prods and you still haven’t fixed the aspect ratio of that Hornet on your website masthead. That reeks of some combination of laziness and incompetence.

    Then there is your derisive attitude towards education. Perhaps that is why you think that “reeks of common sense” is some kind of pejorative about my theory of how consumers look at products. Or are you just careless? You need to get a negative in there somehow. Maybe you could use “reeks of foolishness” or “violates common sense” (if you can get over your fascinations with “reeks”).

    There is probably no use at all to show how you miss the entire point anyway. There is no reason to dispute that Android contains many bits and bytes taken from Linux source and, if your world somehow depends on some ultimate triumph of those bits and bytes over others, then go to your eternal rest knowing that you were right. But to the consumer, it is the whole that is viewed, if even that much is actually considered, and the attribute is “Android”. Linux is rarely, if ever, mentioned.

    Cheddar is cheese certainly, but if you are at all discerning, you order Cheddar, not cheese just like you might order a Corvette rather than just saying to send you a Chevrolet.

  16. Dr Loser says:

    (I stand corrected by myself on that failed syllogism, btw. I should probably try the HSE myself.)
    There’s no technical reason why Android shouldn’t run on, say, FreeBSD.
    There’s a pretty obvious reason why cheddar will always be “cheese.”

  17. Dr Loser says:

    Incidentally, Cheddar is to Cheese as Android is to Linux. Not the other way around.

    How’s the revision for a High School Equivalency going?

  18. Give it a little more time. It’s taken way too long but the Micro$oft monopoly is finally starting to crumble. It began decades ago when Netscape won the browser war.

    Oh, they didn’t win, you say? Then you’ve defined the browser war incorrectly. It was never about Netscape vs. Internet Explorer. It was about applications delivered through a web browser vs. applications delivered as Windows binaries. And we all know how that turned out: the web is winning, winning, winning. And with technologies like WebGL and HTML5 there are soon going to be no applications that require local computing to run properly.

    Thanks to the web, an Intel x86 compatible computer running the Linux operating system is the complete equal of one running Windows. Thanks to the web, an ARM computer running the Linux operating system is the complete equal of one with an Intel chip. And thanks to the web, a computer or a tablet running Apple software is the complete equal of one running the Linux or Windows operating systems.

    20 years ago this was called “Network Computing” and it was successfully derailed by the established desktop interests. Perhaps Sun and Oracle failed to deliver a complete vision, or perhaps the idea’s time had not yet come. Today, it’s called “teh cloud” and despite the fact that some of us will prefer to run our applications and data from our own servers rather than someone else’s, the technology is just as relevant, and thanks to the explosion of mobile computing, it’s an idea whose time finally has come.

    It’s about time the Linux operating system got some love from the mainstream. Here it is.

  19. Dr Loser says:

    To argue otherwise reeks of common sense.

    I suspect the opposite, Dougie. But feel free to pursue that line of argument.

    Incidentally, you’re wrong about Windows. It not only causes hardware problems; it causes software problems. In your case, it presumably causes snake-oil salesman problems.

    Lots of problems, but unfortunately for you, they’re pretty much all solved on the desktop.

  20. dougman says:

    Well, since BW never countered the fact that Windows causes nothing but hardware problems, he must agree.

    Windows = PROBLEMS

    Also, we all know that Windows licenses cost money as M$ is a FOR profit company, to argue otherwise reeks of common sense. Either way as a consumer, you ARE paying to use that license.

    Arguing, that Android is somehow NOT Linux, is akin to saying that Cheddar is not Cheese. Somehow, words have no meaning, only when it is convenient for their side of the story.

  21. bw says:

    You have a really odd view of how things work! The consumer buys a computer for $499 and it comes with Windows and whatever level of goodies the OEM chooses to put in it at that price point. The consumer doesn’t mentally add or subtract anything for Windows. He simply sees a new computer for $499 and decides if he has any better use for the money.

    I suppose there still are builder shops where some person might go and buy a computer by choosing a bunch of things from a list, the OS being one of those choices, but around here all those sort of places are gone. Now people to Best Buy or Target or even Wal-Mart and pick what is on the shelf. Better yet, they order it from Amazon and save the sales tax. 2-Day free delivery with Prime!

  22. bw blathered on about a lot of things but got this one terribly wrong, “You cannot argue that the price would be lower by $100 when a) the OEMs don’t pay that much for Windows and b) the OEMs have to recoup the tremendous annual support costs and initial costs of changing to a server OS for their client products. Then there is the massive loss of unit sales for any OEM dumb enough to lead the parade.”

    The retail price, what consumers pay, is around $100. In the old days, M$ got $50-$60 and left the rest for the OEM. That looked like 50 easy dollars in the old days but now when consumers aren’t buying those PCs, it looks like M$ is getting a free ride on the OEMs’ labours. With GNU/Linux, the OEM can get ~$50 to cover all the costs of GNU/Linux and a profit. Unit sales are down for legacy PCs but look where the market-share is going: Dell, HP and Lenovo who both ship GNU/Linux all have increased share. Dumb, are they? They aren’t leaving any stone unturned. Acer and ASUS who cling to M$ more lost share. Guess what? “Back to School” season has been weak but GNU/Linux is growing rapidly.

  23. oiaohm says:

    bw really your cannot be Linux arguements get boring.

    GNU/LInux is a particular sub of the LInux relationship tree.

    bw what would you call Android if an Android is ever released with a different kernel under it. Android/Linux is still valid.

    GNU/Linux you get cheep to free marketing materials from FSF foundation. So yes some stores do use GNU/Linux for the free posters.

    Sorry bw Netbooks entered the mass market before Windows was placed on them. In fact it was after the Windows release and the restrictions MS demanded that Netbooks started dieing. The Linux machines with slightly bigger screens lost their Netbook status.

    Yes its weird and strange history. The most popular netbooks before Windows release were 11 inch screens. Microsoft requirement was 10 inch screen max and anything with a larger screen was no longer a netbook.

    Yes bw altering term meaning is something Microsoft has pulled off.

  24. bw says:

    A Windows license cost money

    Nope. It comes with the computer these days, just like the Michelins come with my car and it lasts forever. The Michelins would eventually wear out, I imagine, if I ever kept a car long enough, but the lease is always up in 24 or 36 months.

    Retailers already offer Linux on a multitude of devices

    Not really. They sell Android phone and tablets, but that is not Linux in terms of “offer”, it is Android and even at that no one cares. Apple offers iOS instead and no one cares about that, either. The device is an iPhone or an iPad or it is not. If it is not, it is a Samsung or a Galaxy or some similar mental consumer image. Not a Linux computer at all.

    If it is a computer, it is either a Windows computer or it is a Mac. People do care about which. There are no other kinds. Maybe if you go to the third world there actually are Linux computers for sale, but be sure to get your shots before you step into one of those shops. Even then, there are zero “GNU/Linux” computers on offer, just “Linux” (or more likely “Ubuntu”).

    I don’t know any consumers who would ignore a machine with a $100 lower price tag out of ~$300

    You cannot argue that the price would be lower by $100 when a) the OEMs don’t pay that much for Windows and b) the OEMs have to recoup the tremendous annual support costs and initial costs of changing to a server OS for their client products. Then there is the massive loss of unit sales for any OEM dumb enough to lead the parade.

    Android/Linux, Chromebooks, netbooks etc. all sold well when placed in front of consumers

    No such thing as “Android/Linux” of course, just “Android” and only because retailers had to tell buyers that they could not get apps from the Apple store and had to get them from Google. Netbook sales didn’t make it to the mass market level until they came with Windows as you well know. The jury is still out on Chromebooks, too. The only figure bandied about is “25% of the under $300 market” which is of some indeterminate size. I suspect that the other 75% is Windows, too, so even the current flagship product is outsold 3 to 1 in its most productive market. The usage stats are lagging far behind even RT as well, so there is reason to suspect that the original claim is pretty optimistic as well.

  25. dougman says:

    Broken Windows at his lying ways again.

    Aahhh, but there is a price difference between Linux vs. Windows. A Windows license cost money, as with all the other software that M$ sells. Unless you are referring to pirating Windows; are you a software pirate BW? Perhaps you should turn yourself in so the BSI can review your records. Linux is free, open and ubiquitous for everyone to use.

    Retailers already offer Linux on a multitude of devices, how many times do you need to be told this, unless your feeble troll mind conveniently forgot that fact.

    M$ causes nothing but problems and headaches for its users. Users blame the hardware, when in fact it IS the software all along.

    Lets review some examples:

    – Sneaky trojan, backdoors into clients computer, machine updates itself, BSOD is the outcome.

    – Power failure corrupts registry

    http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/497368/corrupted-windows-files-causing-hardware-failure/

    – Windows defrag is never run, scheduled, just does not work or thinks your Velociraptor is a SSD.

    – M$ could give two hoots about consumers, as there are roughly 1.5 billion PCs, and 34% percent of them run XP. So 500M users will be stuck come next year. By abandoning XP on April 8, 2014, M$ will cease being a good shepherd of its most loyal customers and is just leaving them out there, exposed, and unprotected. On April 8, 2014, those millions of remaining XP users will be like lambs being led to the slaughter.

    – OEMs are coming to learn that they are not needed, as M$ is making an end run around them trying to imitate Apple.

  26. bw wrote, “I think that your theory is that, if retailers offer Linux on the shelf, consumers will magically move to it. Why?”

    I don’t know any consumers who would ignore a machine with a $100 lower price tag out of ~$300. That’s probably the first thing consumers would notice. I assume they would then play with it, find it works for them and take it home. Perhaps they would do more research and visit this blog… Nowadays, with smartphones, consumers can do that right from the store. Android/Linux, Chromebooks, netbooks etc. all sold well when placed in front of consumers.

  27. bw says:

    I am not your run-of-the-mill consumer

    OK then, but I don’t see where Microsoft’s having or not having proprietary file formats (for Office is all that I know of) is going to aid the lesser consumer in deciding to change from Windows to Linux. I think you are going to have to educate that consumer and you are going to need a far better sales pitch than the one that is being used now.

    I think that your theory is that, if retailers offer Linux on the shelf, consumers will magically move to it. Why?

    All my experience says that the customer has to come to the decision that the new way is a better way, not just a different way. You place far too much faith in some small difference in price. That will not work for most consumers.

    People buy what they can afford and there is nowhere near enough price difference for Linux offerings vs Windows offerings to overcome the stigma of buying a low price alternative, regardless of their belief that it may be just as good as the name brand. A hundred years of consumer psychology is stacked against you.

    There is no evidence that there would even be a price difference. If you compare specs for Dell or HP computers with most of the Linux brands, for example System 76, the name brand with Windows is generally lower priced than the off-brand with Linux. Only a real funny buyer is going to spring for that.

    After 20 years of Windows being the expected OS on a new computer, the consumer is going to need a lot of motivation to become willing to take the leap to something else. You can do it with a phone or a tablet, since there is not so much of an image of what should be burned into their perception and Android looks like iPhone anyway, but when the consumers decide to buy a new PC, it has to look like what they think it should look like.

    Then there’s the problem with who is going to make any money doing this and how much it is going to cost to get ready to sell something different.

  28. bw wrote, “So what is your problem then? It is easy enough to get Linux off the internet and use it for the sorts of things that a retiree in the north woods may have occasion to do computer-wise.”

    I am not your run-of-the-mill consumer. I have decades of tech experience and can absorb new tech in short order. The ordinary person needs GNU/Linux on retail shelves to have the same choices I have. That’s happening too slowly for my liking thanks to M$’s lock-ins and inertia. That all the OEMs ship GNU/Linux is a good start but the retailers have to offer it. Then I will be happy. I might even retire from blogging…

  29. bw says:

    I have never … I have never …. I haven’t paid … I haven’t …. I have…

    So what is your problem then? It is easy enough to get Linux off the internet and use it for the sorts of things that a retiree in the north woods may have occasion to do computer-wise. Even the dougman seems to be able to use it and with a minimum education at that. He has never wasted the kind of money that you have in getting those worthless degrees.

    All you seem to have to complain about is that Microsoft doesn’t show people how to use it and shows them how to use Windows instead. You should see that as an opportunity to either inform all the world’s ignorant users or at least learn yourself about why them seem to continually eschew using Linux on their traditional PCs.

    If you would only apply yourself to either field of understanding, I think at least someone would be better informed.

    My own opinion about Ballmer (and Gates before him) is that the day to day operations of Microsoft have become fairly ho-hum compared to the heady days of years ago when every day brought some new adventure.

    Gates, with his billions, has been seeking new worlds to conquer for more than a decade now and finds amusement in trying to cure major world health problems. Ballmer, with billions of his own, is doubtless looking for something new as well.

    The old gold mine has played out somewhat and there are fewer and fewer giant nuggets to find. Crushing tons of ore to extract the last fleck of gold is no fun at all, so why bother? They cannot get any richer or find ways to spend their money themselves, so they look for new adventures.

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