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Bill Gates Talk From 1989 Surfaces

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the hard-to-make-predictions-especially-about-the-future dept.

Microsoft 317

70sstar writes "A 1-1/2 hour recording of Bill Gates addressing a crowd of university students in 1989 was recently found and digitized, and has been circulating in some IRC channels for the past few weeks. The speech has found a permanent home on the web page of the University of Waterloo CS Club, where the talk is reported to have taken place. Gates covers the past, present, and future of computing as of 1989. While the former two might be of interest to tech historians, the real fascination is Gates's prediction of computing yet to come. Like the now-legendary '640k' remark, some of his comments are almost laughably off-target ('OS/2 is the way of the future!'). And yet, by and large, he had accurately, chillingly, prophesied an entire decade or two of software and hardware development. All in all, a fascinating talk from one of the most powerful speakers in CS and IT."

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317 comments

OS/2... (3, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475257)

You do know that the NT4 core is extremely similar to OS/2, and the only reason they diverged is because of a fight between IBM and MS?

Shh...poster was being smug! (5, Funny)

HarryCaul (25943) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475305)


Don't interfere with Bill-Bashing!

Re:Shh...poster was being smug! (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475457)

It is funny to hear it straight from Gates though. He owes almost his entire fortune to IBM's failure to deliver on OS/2, and (to be fair) Microsoft's successful delivery of DOS+Windows (crap that it was).

Re:Shh...poster was being smug! (2, Interesting)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475527)

Actually, he owes it to Gary Kildall refusing to talk to IBM when they asked him to port his dominant OS to their new computer. Bill got into the OS market to save his contract with IBM for Basic on the new PC.

Re:Shh...poster was being smug! (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476117)

I agree, DOS (like Windows) could so easily have gone to a competitor instead. I guess it just shows how pivotal certain moments can be. IBM in particular made blunder after blunder, refusing the take the PC seriously. I guess their mainframes were doing just fine and they didn't want to open their eyes to the implications of Moore's Law - that $500 PCs would ultimately take most of the market for computing hardware. Just like all the others - Sun, Silicon Graphics, Cray, DEC...

Well... (4, Interesting)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475529)

You have to admit that it's easier to predict the future when you're the one making it... :]

That said, the places where he was wrong are more interesting to me. I wonder what Microsoft's business plan was had IBM taken over with OS/2 instead of them?

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

Bastian (66383) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475751)

That said, the places where he was wrong are more interesting to me. I wonder what Microsoft's business plan was had IBM taken over with OS/2 instead of them?

It was to rake in (slightly less) dough selling OS/2.

OS/2 was originally a joint Microsoft/IBM effort. What became Windows NT was originally going to be the next version of OS/2, but tensions between MS and IBM increased until Microsoft decided to take its ball and go home.

So really, Bill Gates was 100% correct in saying that OS/2 is the wave of the future. It's just that in 1989 he didn't realize that it was going to be renamed "Windows NT" 3 or 4 years later. Had Microsoft instead decided to continue working with IBM, they would probably still have ended up being stinking rich, just a bit less so.

Re:Shh...poster was being smug! (5, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475783)

He owes almost his entire fortune to IBM's failure to deliver on OS/2, and (to be fair) Microsoft's successful delivery of DOS+Windows (crap that it was).

Gates began programming at age thirteen, at age fourteen he is clearing $20,000 in is first partnership with Allen. Microsoft is founded in 1975. Microsoft in in Japan in 1978. In Europe in 1979. In 1980 Microsoft is young, hungry, and moving a hell of lot faster than Kildall.

Re:Shh...poster was being smug! (2, Interesting)

Traa (158207) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475881)

Look, I love to hate Windows as much as anyone else (here on slashdot), but I happened to have worked on OS/2 drivers in the mid 90's and just thinking back at those make me cringe. OS/2 was a pile of crap when it died. Anyone thinking that IBM was on the verge of launching a flawless operating system is smoking something significantly stronger then I ever have (and I'm from The Netherlands)

Re:Shh...poster was being smug! (1, Troll)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475979)

The only reason OS/2 dies was because IBM was greedy and charged too much for it at the beginning of it's life, hence the beginning became the end. Why did lotus die, because the lotus eater were living in their own little world and were charging more for it then M$ were charging for it's whole office suit and the same applies to word perfect.

Bearing in mind that M$ software, services and support were far cheaper and of a much higher quality in those days. The manuals were excellent, tutorial disks were provided free etc. then the good people left and the ass wipe remained and basically M$ now reflects the morals, integrity and qualities of a typical failed jockstrap insurance salesman.

Those same qualities will of course bring about the fall of company from being a leader to a historical note in the evolution of computer technology.

Re:Shh...poster was being smug! (2, Informative)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476125)

The only reason OS/2 dies was because IBM was greedy and charged too much for it at the beginning of it's life, hence the beginning became the end.

Wasn't it Microsoft that set the pricing of the SDK for OS/2 1.x, and wasn't OS/2 1.x mainly sold as a Microsoft product? Who set the high prices for OS/2 again?

Remember that IBM, once it got hold of OS/2 and was able to release the 32-bit version as a product independently of Microsoft, was willing to sell OS/2 to Windows users for US$49 and to DOS users for US$99 [guidebookgallery.org] , thus making OS/2 an extremely affordable product at one of the key times in its evolution -- the time when it alone was a Windows-compatible 32-bit operating system that was completely independent from DOS.

Windows NT 3.1 (Microsoft's first 32-bit offering) wasn't released until some time after OS/2 2.0 (July 1993, over a year later than OS/2 2.0 ).

Re:Shh...poster was being smug! (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476063)

Have you worked on Windows drivers?

Seriously, OS/2 may not have been flawless, but it performed for the user just fine. There were many things about it from a user perspective that were far better than even XP or OSX have managed to come up with.

Re:OS/2... (0)

jejones (115979) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475341)

Eh? I thought that MS hired away the guy who did VMS from DEC, and that NT was very VMS-like.

Re:OS/2... (0, Flamebait)

bobbonomo (997543) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475515)

From what I read, MS sabotaged OS/2 by writing inefficient code (on purpose). The code from England was good. Otherwise we would have had a multi-tasking OS way before 1995 (or should I say 1999 for 2K). No proof of this. Could be just folklore but I was there then and it makes sense.

Virtual machines. OS/2 had it. Well sort of. More like their VM/370 or MVS. Multiple independent address spaces, managed by a "hypervisor", that could or nor see each other. On an 80486 PC and not a mainframe.

Re:OS/2... (0, Flamebait)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476071)

OS/2 ran in VMs, hence the issues with the Win32s and Office95. THe VMs were restricted to 512MB. Office95 asked for mem at the 2GB mark upon startup, at a time when most systems had less than 256MB. Why? Because it would break OS/2 support.

D/SOM was awesome technology. Enabled more functionality than was supplied by DCOM years later, and did so reliably. It's 2007 and D/COM still doesn't work right.

Re:OS/2... (2, Interesting)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476205)

Remember also that OS/2 ran Windows 3.1 software almost flawlessly, including software that used the 32-bit extensions found in WIN32S.DLL, and that Microsoft could only stop IBM from continuing to offer that high level of competability by changing the virtual machine size of WIN32S.DLL starting with version 1.30 and making that a default setting.

That's why Adobe Photoshop for Windows 3.04 runs just fine under OS/2 Warp 4's WinOS2 subsystem but Adobe Photoshop 3.05 fails, for example. The only thing which changed between those two releases (besides a few fixes) was the move from WIN32S.DLL 1.25a to WIN32S.DLL 1.30.

No MS conspiracy required for OS/2 failure (3, Interesting)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476081)

What legendary rock-n-roll song was used at the gala release celebration for OS/2? Oh, that's right, there was no celebration. OS/2's number one reason for failing was that IBM didn't make much of an effort to make it a success.

Re:OS/2... (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476155)

We did have a multitasking OS on x86 hardware well before 1995. OS/2 2.0 was released in 1992, and Windows NT 3.1 was released in 1993. Before that, products like PC/GEOS provided preemptive multitasking and multithreading on machines with much lesser hardware (GeoWorks Ensemble 1.0 would run fairly well on an IMB XT with 640k of RAM and a CGA card).

Windows 95 was a hybrid 32-bit product which was heavily based on Windows 3.1's architecture and which was largely targetted at the masses, but its multitasking is actually quite poor compared to the two previously released operating systems from IBM and Microsoft itself.

Re:OS/2... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475611)

Actually the NT kernel was stolen from Digital Equipment Corporation. Microsoft settled out of court. How do you think DEC got Windows NT on the Alpha plus $350 Million in cash?

The Windows programming API is identical to OS/2 in most respects, as it should be, it is the same as OS/2.

How did you get modded +5 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475791)

It says a lot about /. these days. During the days of Olsen, he started a re-write of VMS. It had such luminaries as Cutler and Bell on the team. When the company was bleeding, Olsen killed off this project and others. When Gates got wind of this, he approached Cutler (and others such as Grey and Bell), and convinced him to join him. One of the bigger issues was that he promised the core to the VMS folks. He would control the API and above. They would control the core.
ANd if that was not enough, back in 94, I even saw the code for NT (I worked at HP and a neighboring group were asked to port it to the pa-risc. ). I can tell you firsthand that it had NOTHING to do with OS2. If you looked at it, you knew it was dec derivitive. Even the comments said it all.
 
So how did you get modded up?

Re:How did you get modded +5 (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475903)

Well, that explains why Windows' filename handling is so screwy. ;-)

Yes, I'm aware that the actual codebases are different. A lot of the structure is identical, though. Another message pointed out that the APIs for OS/2 and NT4 are close to identical.

Re:How did you get modded +5 (3, Informative)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476095)

APIs are surface features which are (usually) made visible for applications to use, and they give very little indication of the nature or structure of the actual kernel code running underneath.

OS/2 supports the POSIX API via EMXRT.DLL, for example, and yet OS/2's kernel has very little in common with, say, Linux or Solaris (which both also support POSIX programs).

The 32-bit OS/2 kernel written by IBM for OS/2 2.0 and later and the Windows NT 4 kernel are quite different. Both Microsoft and IBM completely re-implemented their respective OS's kernels after the 16-bit OS/2 days, and the resulting software has very little relationship to the old 16-bit kernels except for support for the older 16-bit APIs. But as I said, that is simply a surface similarity.

Re:How did you get modded +5 (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476199)

Your explaination makes more sense, I think NT's similarity to VMS was a point of contention in a lawsuit too, it was obvious such that there were tech articles where they compared the name and function of the standard system services.

Re:eComStation still has superior technology (1)

user_ecs (878826) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475819)


I bought a system preloaded with eComStation. I paid no Microsoft tax. All you have to do is support THE vendors of good quality products. Like buying high quality Snapper lawn movers instead the disposable Wal-Mart ones. Even quality suppliers can decide that a retailer is dragging them down.
(The Man Who Said No to Wal-Mart http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/102/open_snapp er.html [fastcompany.com] )

You can avoid the Microsoft tax too.

eComStation user group - http://www.os2voice.org/ [os2voice.org]
eComStation - http://www.ecomstation.com/ [ecomstation.com]

eComStation preloaded
http://www.curtissystemssoftware.com/preloads.htm [curtissyst...ftware.com]

Re:eComStation still has superior technology (4, Interesting)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476181)

The thing most people don't realize is that even the 1996 flavor of OS/2 Warp 4 is capable of running modern software like Firefox and OpenOffice, and it does so rather well on fairly limited hardware.

Windows has a hard time doing that these days, and Linux is travelling in that direction (at least in terms of the mainstream distros, which seem to have abandoned legacy hardware support for eye candy).

OS/2 core has nothing in common with NT (1)

melted (227442) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475929)

Cutler hated OS/2 with white hot, foaming at the mouth hatred that only Cutler is capable of. He even tried pretty hard to fight Gates' requirement that NT runs OS/2 as a subsystem (alongside POSIX and Windows).

Re:OS/2... (4, Informative)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476189)

You do know that the NT4 core is extremely similar to OS/2

Actually as an OS Engineer that has spent time working with and tearing both apart, they are very much night and day.

You would have more success in selling OS/2 is the same as BSD.

Here are a couple of things to get you started, and I could point out a few inaccuracies in each of these, but for the most part they will send you down the right path:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS/2 [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Architecture_of_Windo ws_NT [wikipedia.org]

Now where you are partially correct. NT started out in the OS/2 3.0 development stages, but by the time MS and IBM split, NT was a start from scratch OS as Dave Cutler thought the OS/2 codebase was horrible.

MS even looked at using *nix concepts in the early days of NT, since it was being written from the ground up, and why MS held on to Xenix at the time in case that is the direction the NT team wanted to go with NT or base it on

However the NT team felt the *nix architecture concepts were too limited and instead decided to take the best OS theories at the time and see if they could truly make a new OS technology.

I get so tired of kids today confusing simple things and I see this crap on here all the time. NT is not VMS, NT was not OS/2, NT and Win95 are not related other than the Win32 subsystem, WinXP does not contain Win9x code, etc etc...

No wonder people think Windows is more of a joke than it already is, if I saw it as a hybrid and hodgepodge of Win9x and OS/2 and NT I would think it was an insane code base too; however, it is not.

It is easy to poke fun at Windows, but when you find real OS engineers, the NT architecture/kernel isn't quite so funny and gets quite a bit of respect even if they hate the Win32 subsystem.

Re:OS/2... (1)

salimma (115327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476197)

That would be NT 3.1, the first version of NT that came out in 1993. And yes, Windows NT even came with an OS/2 subsystem that can run OS/2 1.x console applications. Not sure if it's still present in Win2k, WinXP and Vista..

OS/2 = NT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475263)

Microsofts part of O/S 2 became windows NT though, surely? Thus making his comment correct.

Maybe he was taking the party line (4, Interesting)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475291)

To the computer enthusiasts of the time, it would have been even more laughable had Bill Gates said "in the next two decades, Microsoft software will completely destroy OS/2, will render Apple a shell of its former self by stealing all its innovations, and will demand 1 GB of RAM." So even if he had his world domination plans set in 1989, he couldn't exactly let the world know without being laughed at.

Re:Maybe he was taking the party line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475825)

lol, innovations

Re:Maybe he was taking the party line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476101)

You mean the innovations Steve Jobs stole from Xerox?
The Bill Gates ripped off apple is so tired. Jobs was no genius just luckly knew Woz.

MS was contracted to write OS2
I worked at IBM and everyone claimed that MS shipped a stripped down version so they could release thier own better version. Wasn't true, they just let IBM release the beta windows was all.

Apple a shell of its former self? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476113)

Usually that phrase would apply to a company that once had a major percentage of a market and holds it no longer. The Mac never had a big piece of the market and I'll bet that the Apple II had a much larger market share than the Mac has ever enjoyed.

Sysadmin (0, Troll)

bobdole2k (1079797) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475295)

The CSC has said if there are any problems with the servers, they are available at 519 888 4567 x33870 or the sysadmin's cell phone at 519 721 1714.

Re:Sysadmin (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475307)

If I was said sysadmin I would be changing my numbers right about... now.

Re:Sysadmin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475325)

These numbers are available on the Internet anyways.

Transcript? (4, Interesting)

rgo (986711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475311)

Is there a transcript anywhere? Or at least a summary? I don't have the time to listen to an hour and a half mp3.

Re:Transcript? (1, Flamebait)

tb3 (313150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475395)

I have the time to listen to a 1.5 hour mp3. I just don't have the stomach to listen the an hour and a half of Gates' nasally, whiney voice.
Seriously.
I can barely stand to listen to the man for 30 seconds. God have pity on his underlings. (Or his wife. )

Re:Transcript? (2, Funny)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475525)

So, how long have you worked at MS?

Re:Transcript? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476025)

I have the time to listen to a 1.5 hour mp3. I just don't have the stomach to listen the an hour and a half of Gates' nasally, whiney voice.

Watch it, bub, 2/3 of us slashdotters probably sound kind of similar. (I suppose that is why we use keyboards.)
       

But (2, Interesting)

Centurix (249778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475317)

I really do only need 640k. As long as I can play Scramble on my Vic 20 I'll be happy for life.

Re:But (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475675)

Dude, if you got 640k on your Vic-20, your damn awesome.

640k remark (4, Informative)

badasscat (563442) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475327)

Like the now-legendary '640k' remark

A better description would have been the "mythical '640k' remark", because he never said it [tafkac.org] .

Nobody can ever cite a source for this alleged quote, and in the absence of such a source, you have to take his word for it. It's impossible to prove a negative; that's how urban legends start in the first place.

(If he did say it, don't you think someone would have figured out the where and when?)

Re:640k remark (5, Informative)

Andareed (990785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475347)

The exact 640k quote from the talk: "So that's a 1 MB address space. And in that original design I took the upper 340k and decided that a certain amount should be for video memory, a certain amount for the ROM and I/O, and that left 640k for general purpose memory. And that leads to today's situation where people talk about the 640k memory barrier; the limit of how much memory you can put to these machines. I have to say that in 1981, making those decisions, I felt like I was providing enough freedom for 10 years. . That is, a move from 64k to 640k felt like something that would last a great deal of time. Well, it didn't - it took about only 6 years before people started to see that as a real problem."

Re:640k remark (2, Insightful)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475761)

"I have to say that in 1981, making those decisions, I felt like I was providing enough freedom for 10 years. . That is, a move from 64k to 640k felt like something that would last a great deal of time. Well, it didn't - it took about only 6 years before people started to see that as a real problem."
... Then you have the Motorola 68000 [wikipedia.org] , designed in the late 1970s and used in home computers in the mid 1980s - capable of addressing a whopping 16MB of memory, and using a flat 32-bit address space in case of future expansion.

So obviously 640kB wasn't enough for everyone back then... ;-)

Re:640k remark (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475835)

Then you have the Motorola 68000, designed in the late 1970s and used in home computers in the mid 1980s - capable of addressing a whopping 16MB of memory

and the street price for 16 MB of RAM in 1980 would have been...what, exactly?

Re:640k remark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475909)

and the street price for 16 MB of RAM in 1980 would have been...what, exactly?

Well Duh. 68,000.
Thats what it stands for, right?

Re:640k remark (1)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476141)


and the street price for 16 MB of RAM in 1980 would have been...what, exactly?

Probably about the same cost as filling up the address space on a modern 64-bit AMD...

Part of the reason the 68000 remains so popular (embedded controllers, etc) is because it was designed intelligently: flat address space, big endian, useful instruction set. A lot like the TMS9900, but Motorola marketed it better.

Re:640k remark (1, Informative)

mdkess (1070356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475371)

The quote from the talk is "So that's a 1 MB address space. And in that original design I took the upper 340k and decided that a certain amount should be for video memory, a certain amount for the ROM and I/O, and that left 640k for general purpose memory. And that leads to today's situation where people talk about the 640k memory barrier; the limit of how much memory you can put to these machines. I have to say that in 1981, making those decisions, I felt like I was providing enough freedom for 10 years. That is, a move from 64k to 640k felt like something that would last a great deal of time. Well, it didn't - it took about only 6 years before people started to see that as a real problem."

Re:640k remark (3, Informative)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475485)

Probably adding fuel to the fire was the fact that the memory limitations held for so long. I've always been into graphics and animation and the early memory issues were a major hassle. Even today shortsightedness about memory has been a major hassle for Windows. Win 2000 had a 2 gig cap and XP had a 4 gig. With the average person being able to aford 4 gig of ram and graphics people needing all the ram they can get it's bizzare with cheap ram to have such limitations. Vista is an improvement but there is a major system ram charge to get it and there still a cap that will be soon reached. He may not say Win 2000 users will never need more than 2 gig of ram but it's the way the company approaches it. Back when Amiga was around it always ran circles around Windows machines for memory. I always loved the fact that a lot of components came with extra ram slots. The Amiga 3000 had a ram limit in range of modern machines and that was 17 years ago. He may not have declared 640k was enough but he's hardly a visionary where memory is concerned.

Re:640k remark (3, Informative)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475547)

I'm not sure if it was so much a software (OS) limit rather than a hardware one. I.e. 2^32 is where the 4GB address space (limit) came from, not because MS decided to be mean (for once). Sure, there are ways to get around the hardware "limitation" in software but there was probably not much incentive at the time to do so.

Re:640k remark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475639)

Psychotria, let's not bring reality into this buddy. We all know that Gates is teh 3v11!!!!!

Hope you find some Caapi and dream well, my friend.

Re:640k remark (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475687)

I remember the early PC's were configured for up to 512K RAM. There were add-on boards to map in the extra RAM up to 640K (and a real time clock and ports). So the 640K however natural it was didn't match up with the way RAM naturalness developed.

  rd

Re:640k remark (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475919)

There's a hardware way that's been around for ages as well. x86 chips since at least the P3 have been able to address 36 GB of RAM, essentially by paging. If XP can't see 8 GB, that's a software limitation.

Re:640k remark (1)

freeweed (309734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476089)

More fuel to the fire is the endless number of arbitrary limitations MS uses all over the place. 32(?) GB limit for a FAT32 partition? 64k row/256 column limit in Excel? Not technical limitations. Just reasons to have to upgrade to the newest versions.

I've always found that quote particularly funny as no matter what, I've ran into one or more of these issues with every version of Windows yet. Not a single one of them actually a real technological limitation, just some arbitrary number chosen for some arcane reason years ago and since enforced by marketing who saw the ability to offer an "upgrade" in a few years' time.

Re:640k remark (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476097)

Let me correct that for you: Win2K and XP have a 2GB cap. Enterprise/DW server have a 3GB cap. Not a single Windows system has a 4GB cap. (while Data Warehouse Server can handle 4GB, 1GB is system RAM only, leaving a measely 3GB for applications as a max) These numbers held for the 2K and 2003 servers both.

Re:640k remark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475629)

"It's impossible to prove a negative"

If that's true, then that statement cannot be proven. That's not to say that it's self-undermining, but I think it's an interesting result.

Also, the mere fact that no one can show that Gates didn't make that remark is not sufficient to show that he did not, in fact, make that remark. (Compare: no one can currently show that Goldbach's conjecture (that every even number is the sum of two primes) is false, but this of course does not show that it is true).

Re:640k remark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476021)

Also, the mere fact that no one can show that Gates didn't make that remark is not sufficient to show that he did not, in fact, make that remark.
 
Natuarally, but that doesn't make it ok for people to parrot it ad nauseam without giving a source. If people can't give a reliable source for something then they shouldn't be repeating it as a truth.

What he said or didn't say is just a red herring (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476173)

The more important point is that Gates couldn't have significantly increased the number beyond 640K even if he wanted to do to the limitations of the processor and the need for address space to be reserved for other purposes. So anyone who mentions the "quote" to imply that Gates was an idiot for choosing the 640K limit is either ignorant or is deliberately attempting to mislead.

This limit is really more the responsiblity of Intel's for designing the world's ugliest processor architecture (now and forever) and IBM for choosing it.

Re:640k remark (1)

abshnasko (981657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475719)

Sorry, but you are wrong. Read a biography on Bill Gates (I know the quote is in Hard Drive), and come back to slashdot when you are no longer an ignoramus.

Re:640k remark (1)

Oscar_Wilde (170568) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476053)

And what source did Hard Drive give for the quote? I've yet to see a source that doesn't essentially boil down to some guy having been told by somebody or other that it was true (i.e. hearsay).

I'd really like the quote to be attributable to Gates but I doubt it can be. Even if it can I doubt it would be funny in the original context.

Re:640k remark (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476087)

The funny part is I remember this being attributed to him back before 86, when I cared about such things. ;)

One thing is obvious from the photograph (3, Funny)

Aokubidaikon (942336) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475331)

Most geeks' dress sense hasn't changed much since 1989 ;)

Re:One thing is obvious from the photograph (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475469)

That's because geeks have a genetically-implanted dress sense from hyper-intelligent beings from another world. Those who lack the genes necessary give in to their ancestral ape-man desires for suits and ties.

Re:One thing is obvious from the photograph (3, Funny)

thrawn_aj (1073100) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475717)

Most geeks' dress sense hasn't changed much since 1989 ;)
Fancy that :P. How foolish of us geeks not to buy into the "hip" mantra. But hey, come up with a less idiotic accessory than a tie (which, seriously was probably invented by a closet S&M freak) and we'll talk business =D. Another fancy I have is that the suit was invented by the same sadist who invented the corset and high heels for women. Gimme a tshirt and pair of jeans anytime. The Linux fanbois can have the penguin suits =D.

______

"What's flamebait daddy?"

Re:One thing is obvious from the photograph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475927)

That may be so, but I imagine one thing that has changed is that people are a bit on the heavier side these days.

Re:One thing is obvious from the photograph (1)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475931)

Most geeks' dress sense hasn't changed much since 1989 ;)
However, the dress size has definitely changed.

Like the now-legendary '640k' remark... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475337)

Errr, and that would be what?

Oh yeah, now I remember.

That would be the 'remark' that was never made.

640K debunkings of this urban rumor should be enough for anyone.

fr1st0ty (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475339)

fr1st h1st0r1c p0zt!

Predict the future (4, Insightful)

imunfair (877689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475357)

What kind of business are you in?

We predict the future. The best way to predict the future... is to invent it.

-X-Files

Re:Predict the future (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475465)

Or to buy out/steal from those that do, or even suppress those that invent something contrary to the "predictions" you've bet on.

Re:Predict the future (3, Funny)

The Zon (969911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475479)

The best way to predict the future... is to invent it.
I have prior art on the future. Also, a time machine.

Re:Predict the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475839)

Florist.

Re:Predict the future (1)

abshnasko (981657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475851)

Funny, "Invent the Future" is the slogan of the university I'm currently attending.

He thought OS/2 would be the perfect platform... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475365)

...for Duke Nukem Forever.

30 minutes (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475367)

1-1/2 hour = 30 minutes

Oh wait...

Re:30 minutes (0, Flamebait)

ShaneThePain (929627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475823)

dude just shut up. You know what they meant. everyone knows what they meant. No one gives a shit about your mundane corrections and technicalities.
Knock it off, its really lame.

Long Road Home (1)

drgruney (1077007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475499)

I think that's the name of his book he published back in the early 90s. Pretty much he predicted the past decade perfectly. I don't know if predicted is the right word since it's his products that he was saying would come out in the next ten years. I guess he's just a really bright guy with a strong ability to estimate the market and development time (Zune not withstanding). He was only off on hardware. He over estimated somethings (credit card sized pocket PCs as powerful as a tower) and underestimated (sheer volume of online gaming)

The Road Ahead - and it wasn't accurate (1)

drewness (85694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475725)

From The Road Ahead [wikipedia.org] entry on wikipedia:

Indeed, Microsoft intended that MSN would become the dominant network. After the book was written but before it hit bookstores, Gates recognized that the Internet was gaining the critical mass needed to drive it to dominance, and on December 7, 1995 -- just weeks after the release of the book -- he redirected Microsoft to become an Internet-focused company. Then he and coauthor Rinearson spent several months revising the book, making it 20,000 words longer and focused on the Internet.

Re:Long Road Home (2, Informative)

Supercrunch (797557) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475737)

It was called "The Road Ahead", originally published in 1995. My recollection was that he got some things right, but he speculated that a new information superhighway would come along to replace the Internet. He also predicted that many/most of us would be interacting with their computers via handwriting and voice recognition.

I remember this talk. (2, Informative)

Ninja Programmer (145252) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475549)

I was a fledgling member of the CSC at Waterloo, and I recognize the members in the photos they showed. I also remember attending this talk with a front row seat. I was sort of unimpressed because he didn't discuss anything that was new or that I didn't already know about.

Re:I remember this talk. (0, Troll)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475635)

"I was sort of unimpressed because he didn't discuss anything that was new or that I didn't already know about."

Wow. Maybe you should have been the one doing the presentation...

Re:I remember this talk. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475647)

Fuck you're awesome. Can I suck your dick?

Re:I remember this talk. (1, Offtopic)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475685)

I was going to reply, but then I saw who you are; I got some great usage out of your website a number of years ago. As a fledgling programmer way back, it was very helpful and a great resource--just wanted to say thanks!!

Re:I remember this talk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475797)

WTF?
       

meta http-equiv="Page-Enter" content="blendTrans (Duration = 0.15)"
very stylish, gotta love that site.

Re:I remember this talk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476067)

Hmmm. Imagine that. He's worth billions, you nothing.

Must sting.

Predictions (5, Interesting)

yuriyg (926419) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475599)

And yet, by and large, he had accurately, chillingly, prophesied an entire decade or two of software and hardware development.
Shouldn't be all that surprising, since he more or less controlled the direction of desktop software development in the 90's. I would assume he just stated his vision of the future of software, and that vision was implemented.

Today on How's it's Made..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475613)

Buttsecks

Testicle Furs

Gay Butt Gongs

Pousseykataz

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475993)

you, sir, are hardcore

Bill gates is full of shit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475631)

Hey Microsoft. The internet is here. It's 1995. You seemed to have forgotten about us!

FYI: Bill's stupid book: "The road ahead" seems to forget to mention the internet. Kudos MS. You seemed to forget the whole fucking thing!

Prophecies? I think not! (1)

Der Reiseweltmeister (1048212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475661)

And yet, by and large, he had accurately, chillingly, prophesied an entire decade or two of software and hardware development.

Must be one of the perks of becoming the head of a monopoly powerful enough to dictate an entire market. He got to fulfill his own prophecies, whether they were good ideas or not.

Re:Prophecies? I think not! (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475865)

What? That statement is like prophesying the weather thusly "20 years from this moment, we will have a nice and sunny day... Or not."

Did everyone 20 years ago expect that we would reach the plateau of hardware and software development very soon, or alternatively, decide that technology is a fad, and then go back to slide rules and abacuses? I doubt so.

good job Bill (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475757)

.... you managed to look less geeky than whole group.

mo3 0p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475765)

Kee4 uunecessary [goat.cx]

CS club = check spelling? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475817)

Nice to know that CS geeks can't spell 'seamless.'

In all seriousness, it sounds interesting, but I don't have 90 minutes to listen to someone talk. Anyone know if transcriptions are being worked on?

And why would they even bother to make a .WAV available? This is a 20-something geek talking, not the London Symphony Orchestra.

Re:CS club = check spelling? (1)

Markster3000 (691658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18476005)

Well, if really you don't want a WAV, then don't download it. I was present for the encoding of the tape, and it was first recorded as WAV, so we figured "the more formats, the merrier".

Gates-Quotes from a 1990 interview (4, Interesting)

Burlador (1048862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475843)

From Chip Magazin 1/1990 (my re-translation from German):

"I think about Handwriting recognition. In two or three years, we may have computers without keyboards. In five or six years this will change, and voice recognition will reduce the importance of graphics."

"In five or six years, DOS [sales] will be overtaken by OS/2."

The he said he is personally using "a Mac II, a Compaq and a IBM" computer, as well as a "NEC-Ultralite".

Prophesy? I don't think so (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475895)

" And yet, by and large, he had accurately, chillingly, prophesied an entire decade or two of software and hardware development."

Yeah? Gee, if he was once such a savant, what happened between then and his 1995 book "The Road Ahead" where he totally fails to "predict" the Internet and World Wide Web when it had already happened?

Sorry, but reciting some corrollary to Moore's Law does not count as accurate prophesy, 'chilling' or otherwise. It's just conventional wisdom

What is it with all the microsoft propaganda? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18476201)

What is it with all the Microsoft propaganda here recently? Vista vista vista vista. Bill Gates this, Bill Gates that. Now this crap. Slashdot used to be about Linux. Now it's half a Microsoft blog.
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