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Gates Says "A Lot of Work" Ahead In IT Development

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the last-continental-words dept.

Microsoft 77

An anonymous reader writes "Bill Gates concluded his last Microsoft-associated public appearance in the EU today with comments about the future of IT. The long-time company head said that there's still a lot of work to be done before Information Technology resources truly come into their own. '"There's another side that is how software is allowing people to be more productive at work. It's the empowerment of these people to do their jobs more effectively." Gates also commented on the potential of the Internet, calling it a "huge democratization tool". But Gates said there is still a long road ahead for tech development. "It's come a long way in the last 30 years but we're not even halfway there with building the systems we need to have."'"

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The punchline? (3, Funny)

Sta7ic (819090) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239102)

"...and Microsoft is working to bring you the tools YOUR company needs to be competitively productive!"

Re:The punchline? (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240000)

... and there will be no end of work for you.

Umm, sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22239106)

Why thanks Bill for stating the obvious.

Why is this news?

Re:Umm, sure. (1)

EmperorKagato (689705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239332)

It needs to be said.

There are companies that have still improperly embracing technology to suit their needs, or lack insight into implementing technology.

Chicago is a good market for tons of organizations, schools and business that have any decent foundation in technology to suit their needs.

I'm referring to Chicago, not any of it's suburbs.

MS has been busy breaking windows .... (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239152)

and those IT guys will have to fix them. Lots of benefit to the economy, I think [wikipedia.org]

Re:MS has been busy breaking windows .... (1)

professional_troll (1178701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240434)

And our jobs being made much more painful

Thanks alot Gates, now fuck off, retire and die

Re:MS has been busy breaking windows .... (1)

lwriemen (763666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245450)

How can you break something that has always been broken?

Productivity (2, Funny)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239158)

Thanks to all that new software increasing productivity, I can afford to space out at my desk an extra 35%.

Re:Productivity (1, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240470)

I don't know about you, but all the crap coming out of Microsoft Development labs, their new Frameworks, their Best Patterns and Practices, their new Platform (or I think its been rebranded as Windows) SDKs, their Enterprise Application Blocks, their Windows XYZ Foundations, their new Tools to analyze, check and report, their new Features added to every server or operating system.... (I giving up typing at this point), all that just means I have a ton of time I used to spend coding that I now have to spend learning which of the above are acceptable, and which are a pile of donkey balls.

I did this a few years ago, had to investigate what the benefits of Application Server, Biztalk Server, Sharepoint Server, and Commerce Server was. The answer, you'll be unsurprised to hear, was very little to us, but a fair chunk of licencing money to MS (I mean, AppServer was practically a fancy way of configuring network load balancing).

I may be showing my age now, but I wish they would stop releasing new stuff and simply improve the existing stuff. The time and effort they've spent re-implementing Java could have made Vista into a kick-ass super OS that was easy to develop for and would run so efficiently I needn't have bought another 2 gig of RAM and a dual core CPU!!

Re:Productivity (4, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241210)

I may be showing my age now, but I wish they would stop releasing new stuff and simply improve the existing stuff. The time and effort they've spent re-implementing Java could have made Vista into a kick-ass super OS that was easy to develop for and would run so efficiently I needn't have bought another 2 gig of RAM and a dual core CPU!!


Given the roots and legacy of Windows, there's really not a whole lot MS could have done with Vista to make it a kick-ass super OS short of writing it from scratch (ditch Win32) and force all existing apps to run in a sandbox the way Apple did with OS 9. There's just too much legacy stuff tying Microsoft's hands. Here's a great article comparing what Windows is now with what dBase once was: http://garywiz.typepad.com/trial_by_fire/2006/03/windows_vista_p.html [typepad.com] Windows seems to be following a similar demise for similar reasons. What is comes down to is that Microsoft is getting to the point where the best they can offer in a new product is backwards computability with their previous products. Few people care about what NEW software they can run on Vista. Most just want it to run the same software they've always run with a little more flair and perhaps with a little more security.

-matthew

Re:Productivity (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241664)

I am one to think Gates' statement about it being a long road may just be eluding to that. I am sure he is seeing that Windows as it stands is becoming a pretty big boat anchor for the company. By bolstering Virtulization (which includes opening up the prospects of Vista home to VM) MS may be setting up an escape route to get past the laughing stock in security it has been this past decade.

I figure Windows 7 (or whatever number or name it is) will be closer to Unix or at least as secure as such a system. With the VM technology, they can do what Apple did with OS X, have Windows run as a virtual compatibility module until there is enough market buy-in to bury Windows and it's flawed legacy.

The question would be if Microsoft did such things will they go for employing standards (posix, etc) or will they go for standards plus something more, which got them into this mess in the first place.

Re:Productivity (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22243620)



I think it is too late for that. There's just too much Win32 shite out there for MS to do what Apple did with OS X. Apple was pretty desparate before OS X. They didn't have much to lose. But that made the solution clear: Get the few major players (i.e. Adobe and Quark) on board with OS X and everyone else would (and did) follow.

Hell, look at Windows XP. It is almost 7 years old now and many people are STILL clinging to it.. refusing to buy into Vista. Even if you could get users of some vastly different Windows 7 to run Win32 stuff in a VM, developers would want to cater all those stragglers who have no motivation to upgrade. Win32 would be the lowest common denominator, and hence, the default target for Windows software. With OS X, on the other hand, there was a no doubt about where Apple was going. You either ported your OS 9 applications to OS X, or you were going to be left in the dust. It would be the exact opposite situation with a new Windows platform. Developers would be at a disadvantage by targetting a a vastely different Windows.

What worked for Apple will NOT work for Microsoft.

Re:Productivity (1)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246158)

Most just want it to run the same software they've always run with a little more flair...

Vista should come with at least 15 pieces of flair [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:Productivity (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22249512)

Oh, i think Vista got the flair part covered. Not sure about the security part yet, but it has flair.

-matthew

ONE thing may save Vista v2 ... (1)

Schtroumpf42 (1223878) | more than 6 years ago | (#22255566)

Ditch the kernel, adopt Linux ...
Then, the UI experts at Microsoft can REALLY make an OS work ... if they are willing to invent something, instead of just stealing (in an IP kind of meaning, that it, not ACTUAL dis-possessing someone of his "property") other people's ideas, such as Xerox (the GUI thingy), Apple (the looks of the 80's, and Mouse usage), XOrg (Compiz), Mosaic (Browser), TigerT (remember the special effects of Enlightenmnent ?), DEC (Dr Dos ?), Multiplan (Excel ?), ... and so many others ...
To sum up, William B. Gates III didn't pioneer anything computer-related, but is a genius in the industrialization of the following fields : marketing innovations (software as a service : pay more, longer), Vendor Lock-In (ever tried to buy a PC with anything apart from Glasses installed ?), Anti-trust Legislations Evasions (US, EU, and most parts of the world), worldwide lobbying (the OOXML Vs. ODF thingy), ...

However, in a way, he only followed the tracks put forth by Nero, Al Capone, Enron, Pablo Escobar, and so many of the real innovators :)

Re:Productivity (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22243202)

wish they would stop releasing new stuff and simply improve the existing stuff

Hear hear!

I understand the origin of their new gadget culture was in a quote Bill G. made years ago -- "If we don't obsolete our own stuff, someone else will". I think it became a mandate for chaos, which manifests itself whenever they come out with a release with a funny name.

Stating the obvious (4, Insightful)

KillerCow (213458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239258)

There's another side that is how software is allowing people to be more productive at work. It's the empowerment of these people to do their jobs more effectively.


That's a revelation? Isn't that what has been promised continually since day one?

Thank a Lot (2, Funny)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239266)

Right before you retire.

Thanks a lot Bill... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22239276)

It's come a long way in the last 30 years but we're not even halfway there with building the systems we need to have.
No thanks to you.

Coincidence? (1, Interesting)

Phillup (317168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239278)

Re:Coincidence? (2, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241482)

What do you expect? This isn't necessarily greed on Microsoft's part. It is damage control. They are trying to save the Windows lineage. If too many people keep running XP, Windows as a platform will shrivel up and die. If nothing else, Vista keeps up the illusion of progress and innovation. And Microsoft needs people to buy into that illusion. Hell, I don't even think they really need to buy it. I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft started giving it away like IE and other products.

And I don't care (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239344)

Frankly don't care what Bill Gates has to say, unless it has to do with growing my business using whatever methods it takes.

Re:And I don't care (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239940)

Yeppers. "Heil Gates!".

Just fucking retire already! (4, Interesting)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239414)

I spent all day today tracking down the reason why one of our lab XP machines would only respond with "Access Denied!" to any attempt to log in remotely. A web search produced at least four dozen distinct possibilities from simple sharing settings to obscure security flags you need a team of digital Sherpas to even find

*My* problem turned out to be one of the really obscure ones, and by sheer luck it was the second one I tried or I'd be working this tomorrow as well. The problem with *IT* is that the dominant OS is a deliberately obfuscated pile of week old baboon jism.

I had to use RegEdit last week to make Visio behave the way I wanted to. WTF is that? Is that supposed to be even remotely sane? And this week it's reverted back to its old behavior for no known reason.

Re:Just fucking retire already! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22239464)

You're right, it would have been much easier to write a perl script or pipe 30 commands together, like Linux users are so fond of. /sarcasm.

Re:Just fucking retire already! (1, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239986)

You're right, it would have been much easier to write a perl script or pipe 30 commands together, like Linux users are so fond of. /sarcasm.

You're trying to be sarcastic, but what you said it actually correct. It would be eaiser, because you'd have to write the script once (or not at all, if someone else wrote the script for you), and then all it takes is to run the script whenever you have a problem. Hell, you could write another script to monitor the log files and run your first script automatically.

Automating common tasks is approximately 2 orders of magnitude easier on Linux (particularly on Debian) than on Windows. I'm saying this having done both.

Re:Just fucking retire already! (2, Interesting)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240550)

Welcome to IT. Today, I had to: 1.) Figure out what "not in top of zone" meant in my BIND logs after tweaking a zone file. 2.) Get awk to not barf on an address book import script that happened to have 1 swiss character to deal with. 3.) Rebuild my RPM database cause Mandriva's update utility crashed on my workstation. 4.) Tirelessly search Cisco's website for an undocumented IOS command that I needed. Mod ME up!

Re:Just fucking retire already! (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242352)

You have to love how MS bashing gets modded up and pointing out problems with open source tools usually either gets ignored, flamed, or modded into oblivion.

Software has problems. All of it. It's an imperfect creation made by imperfect people.

Re:Just fucking retire already! (3, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242804)

You imply that the 2 camps are roughly equivalent in quality, and that the unequal bashing is just bias. Not so! On the majority of objective measures, open source is superior. There are the obvious, whole point of libre ones, such as ability to examine and modify the code. And then there are the measures that take a little research to determine, such as which systems are more secure. I've read that CERT has always found more problems with Windows than with Linux. There are plenty of other measures: code quality, performance, robustness, nimbleness, and portability to name a few. Libre OSes are better than Windows in all those categories. And the reason they are better is in part because they are open and cannot be monopolized-- the many eyeballs effect, and the inability of private interests to be the gatekeepers of all progress. Windows does have a few advantages, I'm not denying that. Even when you move to applications, what do we see? Yes, Firefox is better than IE. Pidgin is much better than AIM thanks in part to AIM actually getting worse. OpenOffice vs MSOffice is more a matter of what's important to the user. On the other hand, I read that the GIMP still isn't as good as Photoshop, but it's gaining. And I don't know where gcc stands compared to Visual Studio, but I've read that in the past gcc definitely generated the poorer code but now this is not so clear. Overall, libre is better. I only wonder how long MS can carry on in the face of the massive disadvantages their chosen business methods put them at. For years now we have seen MS resort to unethical methods, and that's the mark of a weak competitor. They are only strong because of their near monopoly position, not because of any inherent superiority to their practices (the ethical practices, that is) or software. They've also made a lot of enemies, not least the previous monopoly computing giant, IBM. Strip away that monopoly, and MS would have to change or die, and they know it. It will be a real shame to see the huge pile of money they've saved up be frittered away year by year in hopeless attempts to maintain the status quo, but activation for XP, WGA, and now Vista seem a clear signal that's the direction they're determined to keep pushing towards.

Those comments that get "modded into oblivion" very likely deserved it for misrepresentation or outright lies. Genuine problems with libre software are fixed right away, or acknowledged. Those that are buried are rare, and often they get forked. Xfree86 and Xorg come to mind on that last.

Your comment seems trollish to me. Consider that maybe the majority of Slashdot has good reasons for believing as we do.

Re:Just fucking retire already! (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 6 years ago | (#22252158)

*shakes head*

I find it amusing that you think I'm a troll when the truth is that I use both Windows and Linux. Have for years, and I see the pros and cons in each.

You, on the other hand, seem to like to repeat the same thing over and over again, ignoring valid arguments to the contrary or calling them "misrepresentations" or "outright lies".

Code isn't better because it's "free", and the *vast* majority of people who use open source have no desire to muck about with the code.

As for all of the issues with open source software getting resolved, that's just silly. There will *always* be problems with code - open or closed. And I have to tell you that simply acknowledging a problem, while nice, doesn't do a whole lot without actually doing something to solve it (before you say "you could fix it yourself", re-read the previous paragraph).

Consider that maybe the majority of Slashdot has good reasons for believing as we do.

It could be that so many of them have bought into Stallman's rhetoric that all software should be "Free" and that it's evil for it to be otherwise. It's a holy war with him, as well as his followers, and it's not something that's helping his cause.

Re:Just fucking retire already! (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22255702)

Of course there will always be problems with code. And no, "fix it yourself" is a strawman. Any able programmer can fix OSS. Just like any competent mechanic could fix any brand of car. Most people don't fix their own cars and don't want to, they pay the professionals of their choice to do that. With libre software, while they could fix it themselves the real power is having the option to hire programmers to fix problems and not have to beg the originators who often have other priorities. It's not "you can fix it yourself" it's, "you can get it fixed yourself".

No I don't think you are a troll, I've read your comments before. But I do think that one was trollish. You insinuated that MS gets an unfairly high percentage of the bashing relative to OSS, and I disagree. There really are fundamental differences between libre and proprietary, and those differences really are the reasons why libre is overall better quality. How do you account for CERT's findings? Is it your position that CERT is biased, or their methodology is flawed? What of DRM? I don't think anyone calls Vista an improvement over XP, and that is a strong indictment of proprietary software that such a giant step backwards could be pushed on people.

Re:Just fucking retire already! (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240576)

Na, we want Bill to stay and to get rid of half the developers, "architects" and programme managers that work for MS today. Once upon a time, Windows was quite straightforward to develop for, it worked and it was well documented with a good SDK that made sense.

Fast forward 10 years, and we have a product that has no internal consistency because we have 100 different developer teams scattered all over the world creating 'stuff' (ie object libraries, 'frameworks', etc) that just adds a layer of said baboon love-juice smeared all over everything.

Is it any wonder we have a dozen different SDKs, add-on libraries, and toolkits. If its so difficult just to get the right installer to develop something, is it any wonder that the products that are written are so flaky?

I see Linux gaining traction nowadays, and I can't help but think that that is partly due to Linux becoming more stable and mature, but also the unpleasant wierdness that Windows is becoming. I'm a Windows developer (happily been so for years), but I'm trying to get more Linux development on my CV now, simply because its more enjoyable.

Re:Just fucking retire already! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240786)

>I had to use RegEdit last week to make Visio behave the way I wanted to. WTF is that? Is that supposed to be even remotely sane? And this week it's reverted back to its old behavior for no known reason.

I'll give you a hint. Its group policy overwriting your changes. Learn the tools before you whine about them. Youd be killed in a serious environment if you couldnt figure this out.

Re:Just fucking retire already! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22243612)

Bzzzt! Wrong! Already checked that. Fuck you. KThx Bye.

being stuck for the last 20 years doesn't help (3, Insightful)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239416)

The Amiga, Acorn Archimedes, Atari ST and so on were all capable of many of the things that Windows is only recently capable of and yet they were all products of the 1980s. MS has done nothing to advance the state of computing. The resources that are wasted on trying to deal with their proprietary crap would have been better spent elsewhere. Even today with OOXML we are still fighting them while they dig their heels in to slow progress until they are good and ready.

20 years and counting Bill. 20 years. I weep for the state of computing under MS's jackboot.

Re:being stuck for the last 20 years doesn't help (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239870)

I weep for the state of computing under MS's jackboot.

"Oh, the tears of unfathomable sadness! Yummy!"
-- Bill Gates

Re:being stuck for the last 20 years doesn't help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240876)

Having fun comparing hardware to software? Or are you honestly trying to say that you could do much more than nothing on TOS?
MS has done nothing to advance the state of computing? Are you just saying that to align your post neatly with all the other group-think posts? Computing is in a rather good state right now, BTW. If you don't think so, point your fingers at what's wrong, and don't just spread FUD. (I agree with "Even today with OOXML we are still fighting them while they dig their heels in to slow progress until they are good and ready" though.)

-- A Debian GNU/Linux user

Re:being stuck for the last 20 years doesn't help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22243418)

In the beginning software was given freely with the hardware and could keep pace much better. In fact the argument that free software does a better job at keeping up with hardware is a founding theory behind FOSS.

Re:being stuck for the last 20 years doesn't help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240956)

Indeed. In the early 90s, there was a fair choice of OSs to choose from, allowing for a healthy amount of competition and innovation.

MS has produced the 'McDonalds' of OSs - cheap, simple, and above all utter crap. Sadly, just how many consumers like things. No significant changes to the UI for 13 years, except superficial features which have been shameless and poorly copied from Apple. You're right, it's damn tragic to think of where IT could be today without them.

Not to worry though, their business model appears to have hit a brick wall. XP is just about usable enough for the mass market to not give a crap about any 'improvements', people now seem to be wondering exactly why you need a 3GHz machine with 2GB of RAM to write a letter, and open standards are being taken more seriously. Their recent desperate attempts to get into other markets are a clear acknowledgment of this. One day, it'll all go to shit for them.

Re:being stuck for the last 20 years doesn't help (1)

lwriemen (763666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245522)

By the early 90's, it was already too late due to Microsoft's unchecked anticompetitive practices. Go look at the findings of fact from the Microsoft antitrust trial. There might have been a healthy amount of innovation going on, but competition was already in an unhealthy state.

"Advancing the state of computing" (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242164)

Microsoft did one thing to advance the state of computing: they made the business case that you could put cheap commodity hardware and a single operating system on EVERY FREAKING DESK in your business, and that this would allow your business to reap incredible productivity gains. And they were right. The manifest proof of how right they are is why you can buy a computer for $200 at Walmart these days -- the hardware business scaled because Microsoft said that the machine is not just for hobbyists or folks with mathematical degrees and Severe Computional Needs but is also a business appliance, like the telephone.

Think for a moment of how fun it would be for your favorite open source operating system if they all had to run on incompatible CPU architectures on closed, proprietary machines which cost $2,000 each, like the Amiga, Acorn Archimedes, Atari ST and so on cost in the 80s. Think of whether you would like to participate on an Internet if every last person on it knew how to reverse a doubly-linked list (and consider, very carefully, the implications of your answer).

Like it or not, you live in the House That Bill Built.

Re:"Advancing the state of computing" (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242518)

Bullshit.

The only thing that Microsoft ever did was take existing trends, embrace and extend, and make a lot of money in the process. If Microsoft had never existed the IBM PC would have run CP/M. The only functionality we might not have is the ability to embed Lotus 123 spreadsheets in our Word Perfect documents - and GNU+Linux would probably have trashed OS2 all over the place in the late 90's.

Re:"Advancing the state of computing" (1)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22243172)

Patio11 said "Like it or not, you live in the House That Bill Built."

Actually, if you took MS out of the equation I doubt things would be any different today except that some other platform would be the most popular. Also, you assume that back in the late 80's there were no cheap solutions that could do what people needed (document preparation for example) and again you are wrong. The Amstrad WPCs were a good example of a cheap piece of hardware with integrated software aimed at the business desktop. They didn't run any form of DOS but they did have a decent word processing environment, came with a dot matrix or daisy wheel printer and you could also program them to do other stuff. Those were so much cheaper than PCs it just isn't funny. Hardware manufacturers made the PC cheap, not MS. Without Windows there would have been GEM for instance which was much better than Windows at the time. CP/M existed as a business environment. Notice I haven't even mentioned the Mac.

What the PC did was allow lots of different manufacturers to build IBM compatible computers that could run the same software as the genuine article (some better than others) and MS as the software platform owner did very nicely out of it. Bill and Co built nothing. They got lucky and were in the right place at the right time on a hardware platform when people wanted to standardise. They have exploited that to control the market ever since and that includes killing many great technologies until they were ready to produce something of worse quality years later. Standardisation would have happened without them as it was time for it to happen and other attempts had already been made. I'm sure we would have been much further along if we hadn't had such an abusive company in control of the market.

Re:"Advancing the state of computing" (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 6 years ago | (#22244996)

The manifest proof of how right they are is why you can buy a computer for $200 at Walmart these days

Uhh, you could buy $200 computers back in the 1980s. But Windows pushed the prices up.

Re:"Advancing the state of computing" (1)

OSXCPA (805476) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245090)

If I could count on everyone on 'an internet' being able to reverse a doubly linked list, I would know the following:

1. The internet really was full of terribly bright people;
2. I would not be among them. I need to work on that... :)

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22239424)


"[...] but we're not even halfway there with building the systems we need to have.

So when the default install size of a future Windows version hits 30 GB We Are There!

yes, you idiot! (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239622)

He's right. And the main reason is the stuff that his company sells.

A consistent picture in every company that I have seen from the inside, with not a single exception: The Unix (or in some places, the mainframe) department is an order of magnitude more professional than the windos group. The Unix servers run reliable (mostly), while the windos network is always a hassle. I've twice replaced the windos infrastructure for a small team with something non-windos (Solaris once, OS X once) and it worked better, with less maintainance, and more useful features.

By now I doubt it's a coincidence, and I've come down from my former arrogance of simply assuming that windos admins are mostly stupid fuckups who couldn't get a job in real IT. If there's one constant in all the cases you see - namely microsoft software - then doubt as you may but the chances are excellent that that's the reason.

I mostly learned that from the one really good windos admin I had the pleasure of working with. He could make things work. But the amount of trouble he had to go to was astonishing. Since then, I'm sure the problem isn't the admins (though they sometimes add to the problem, as many of them are stupid fuckups who couldn't get a job in real IT), but the crap they're forced to work with.

For the most part, agreed. (0)

mmell (832646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239830)

Part of the problem is that MS-Windows is the easiest desktop environment to use. This has reflected itself in the tools which Microsoft makes available to Windows System Administrators. Easy to learn, easy to use - safetied out to ensure that you can't easily shoot yourself in the foot (or shoot a bug, for that matter). Even a mediocre administrator can handle Windows without publicly embarassing himself - especially when the OS lends itself to taking the blame for him. UNIX/Mainframe - well, I can do anything I want; but if what I want to do crashes the system, the first I'll know about it is when smoke starts pouring out of the data center - approximately 300ms after whatever I did wrong. Being servers, everyone in the enterprise will know shortly thereafter that something is wrong, and the blame will be unequivocally mine (Mainframe/UNIX environments will see to keeping a crystal clear record of my idiocy).

Then again, if I'm any good, I can (usually) fix it in that same 300ms.

Re:For the most part, agreed. (1)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240286)

Part of the problem is that MS-Windows is the easiest desktop environment to use.
I'd beg to differ and walk a fine line on this one. Part of the problem is that MS-Windows WAS the easiest desktop environment to use. The other part of the issue was IBM vs Apple. I was a bit too out of the IT scene at the time to really take notice but recall when they were called IBM-Compatible computers? IBM pushed the market share, then Intel rocked along with the x86 platform. Hardware manufacturers are as much to blame at this point as Microsoft. True in more recent years this is no longer the case, but at the time anyone who owned a Mac was "hardcore" or "rich" due to the prohibitive pricing on them. For some reason people seem to think that a full-package at $600 is more expensive than hardware: $400, Peripherals: $100, Software: $400. I don't know why, but then I've never trusted human intelligence.

My $0.02 AU, Ignore at will.

Re:For the most part, agreed. (2, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241490)

Part of the problem is that MS-Windows is the easiest desktop environment to use.
Whatever you're smoking, reduce the dosage.

I've switched to OS X just a year ago, dragging several people in my immediate environment with me. From geek to "I bought my first computer two years ago", they all agree that OS X is so much better and ask themselves how they could ever put up with the horror that is the windos GUI.

No, the real truth is that the windos environment is horrible, but it's the environment everyone is familiar with. That means low training costs. Simple as that.

Re:For the most part, agreed. (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241612)

From geek to "I bought my first computer two years ago", they all agree that OS X is so much better and ask themselves how they could ever put up with the horror that is the windos GUI.

It's probably true that OS X has a better GUI than Windows (Apple has pretty much always beat them there). But Windows took over the market due to many factors, not least of which was inexpensive hardware. Apple tried to compete by allowing Power Computing (or whatever they were called) build their machines instead of just Apple. Hardware prices dropped a bit, but that was about the same time that MacOS was producing 7.5.3 and up...the worst of their operating system line until OS X. So like an inexpensive restaurant with bad food, Apple fell behind and Windows moved forward. At least you could empty the trash and open a folder at the same time...

And now, I'd agree that, even though Apple doesn't seem to have the full features of a Directory-based network like MS or Novell, their OS is finally better than Windows. But their hardware is not twice as much. I can build a screaming machine for under $1000 -- a similar machine would cost me $3000 on Apple hardware.

A properly run Windows box isn't so much worse than an Apple box that I feel like overspending by that much.

Re:For the most part, agreed. (1)

Hank Scorpio (137966) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242628)

I can build a screaming machine for under $1000 -- a similar machine would cost me $3000 on Apple hardware.

Really? You can build me this machine for under $1000:

  • Dual Quad-Core Xeon (8 cores total) @2.8 GHz
  • 2 GB of 800 MHz FB-DIMMs
  • 320 GB Hard Drive
  • Double-layer DVD burner
  • Video card w/ two Dual-Link DVI outputs
  • FireWire 800
  • Dual Gigabit Ethernet
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • A good case (i.e. it won't scrape my knuckles every time I open it up)
  • Keyboard / mouse

And don't forget the software...

  • UNIX Operating System with a good GUI (and, no, sorry Linux is not quite there yet.)
  • Backup software
  • Video editing and DVD authoring software
  • Audio editing and tracking software

That's what you get in a mac for $3000 ($2799 to be exact). You're telling me you can build a machine just like that for under $1000? Seriously? What, are you planning to steal the CPUs? Those ALONE would cost more than $1000 on Newegg.

Re:For the most part, agreed. (1)

AngelofDeath-02 (550129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22243244)

wow. It's true..
Unfortunately I would be a fool to buy it and expect to game on it ..

Intent has a lot to do with the platform you choose as well, but yea - that's some impressive beef.

Re:For the most part, agreed. (2, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22244866)

True, there were several factors at work here.

True, one of them was that Apple used to be more expensive than PCs. That is no longer true, but it was, for many years.

Other factors are, of course, MS illegal business practices, the original IBM deal, later OEM deals and so forth.

Once dominance was achieved, all the self-perpetuating effects of a lock-in apply. In essence, switching becomes too expensive (in money and/or effort) for most people because you have all your software, all your documents in some proprietary MS format, all the usual stuff.

Finally, Apple does have the full features, they just work slightly differently. For example, OS X supports Kerberos, which alone puts you way ahead of most so-called corporate networks (which are regularly little more than samba shares on drugs). Bonjour is an incredible service for small networks. If you're running a company with 10 or 20 employees, setting up a network based on Apple technology will save you many days if not weeks of work, lots of trouble, and you can do it even if there isn't a geek in your 10-20 people. Oh, it also works.

I have the direct comparison, because I run windos for gaming. Stuff that takes me seconds to do using two OS X machines ("hey I need this file", "ok, I'll copy it into your inbox" (drag & drop some, done)" is a hassle on windos ("I don't see you on the network.", "Try my IP, it's ...", "hm, why does it take so long?", "I think I'm in the wrong workgroup, where do you change that, again?" (hint, it's nowhere even near the network configuration, it's in an entirely different dialog...) ).

I've been watching this train wreck since I moved away from DOS 6 to Novell DOS. I've had the misfortune of using every windos version except ME, usually at work. I've seen how Linux came up, had its opportunity, and blundered it. I've seen how Apple resurfaced, and went straight past anything MS has to offer at a speed that's probably over the speed limit. Windos is a pile of steaming crap, from the network layer to the design details of the GUI. The reason it was successful are mostly business strategy, most of them criminal. The reason why it's still successful is summed up in one phrase: Lock-in. Everything else like training costs, costs of converting documents, convenience, software not being available except for windos, is all just manifestations of lock-in.

Re:For the most part, agreed. (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 6 years ago | (#22264028)

I have the direct comparison, because I run windos for gaming. Stuff that takes me seconds to do using two OS X machines ("hey I need this file", "ok, I'll copy it into your inbox" (drag & drop some, done)" is a hassle on windos ("I don't see you on the network.", "Try my IP, it's ...", "hm, why does it take so long?", "I think I'm in the wrong workgroup, where do you change that, again?" (hint, it's nowhere even near the network configuration, it's in an entirely different dialog...) ).

Odd, I've got a wireless setup at home (even the desktop uses wireless). Desktop has the USB printer shared. New laptop was printing in 5 seconds through the desktop. Start - Run: \\desktop press OK. Right-click on the printer and choose connect. Print. Same thing works for the shared photos, etc.

I'm not for or against any OS as long as it does what I need it to do and doesn't do what I don't want it to do. These days, it seems the latter is more work than the former.

Re:For the most part, agreed. (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22246088)

I think you mean Windows. Windos is this. [berkeleydesigning.com] Anyway, I hope it was a consistent typo. It would be even more strange if it was on purpose...

Re:For the most part, agreed. (1)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22249018)

It is on purpose, because windows are these [poster.net] .

I don't like marketing people preying on our language.

Re:yes, you idiot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240388)

I see that in a lot of companies... but more and more, the UNIX infrastructure is being ripped out and replaced with Windows. Not because Windows is better, but because Windows has the certifications for SOX compliance. When the auditors come, its far better to be running on a half-broken Windows setup that can check off "due diligence" checkboxes than a system which works perfectly, but doesn't have the pieces of paper (Common Criteria, FIPS) that Windows has. Especially when a ticked off auditor may mean SEC agents in the black suits and handcuffs coming for a follow up visit.

There are exceptions though. RedHat, Solaris, and AIX have all these certifications.

Re:yes, you idiot! (1)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241462)

Obviously, in your case both the management and the auditors don't have a clue on what they're doing.

CC assurance levels, for example, are only certified for a specific version and configuration, namely the one that was submitted. There have been numerous patches and even at least one service pack (too lazy to look up the exact date) since windos got its certificate, so very certainly the certification is not valid for what you actually run.

Re:yes, you idiot! (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241402)

I completely agree. Shure, there are incompetent adminsfor both system types. But the good Windows guys have to know way more obscure hacks and in addition these change every few years. Being a good Unix admin is demanding. But being a good Windows admin requires excellence, good memory and an a willingness to suffer that is impressive.

In some sense, the Guru was taken out of Unix slowly over the last few decades. In Windows this role is required more than ever.

Re:yes, you idiot! (1)

weicco (645927) | more than 6 years ago | (#22243148)

A consistent picture in every company that I have seen from the inside, with not a single exception: The Unix (or in some places, the mainframe) department is an order of magnitude more professional than the windos group.

So in other words the companies you've been inside of have had managers that are unable to hire competent Windows admins?

Re:yes, you idiot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22243580)

Yes, that's exactly what he's saying, when you find a competent Windows admin let us know ; )

Re:yes, you idiot! (1)

weicco (645927) | more than 6 years ago | (#22243604)

Why on earth would I do that? I like our highly competent IT staff to be right here and do their work so that I can do my.

Re:yes, you idiot! (1)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22244890)

So in other words the companies you've been inside of have had managers that are unable to hire competent Windows admins?
Yes, that's one way to put it.

And the reason is that there are so few of them. I know they exist, because I've met one. Probably two. But they are kind of an endangered species, and I'm not sure if there are any breeding pairs left.

change for change's sake (3, Insightful)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22239924)

"We'll be talking about a computer in the desk in the future."

We've had desks for a long time now with for example a big hole in the middle covered with glass and a computer monitor angled up below it. What I don't need is a computer that is also my desk. Why? Just because we can? I want to be able to upgrade those two things independently. Most people have phones in their bedrooms near their beds, but that doesn't mean we need phones built into beds!

"One of the biggest changes will be how you interact with the device. The devices themselves will get a lot smaller,..."

Make the devices as small as you want, but please keep the UI portion of it sized to, oh, I don't know, maybe the operator? (Cell phone "keyboards", I'm looking at you.)

Re:change for change's sake (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242094)

"We do what we must, because we can." -- GLaDOS

Re:change for change's sake (1)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 6 years ago | (#22244084)

We've had desks for a long time now with for example a big hole in the middle covered with glass and a computer monitor angled up below it. What I don't need is a computer that is also my desk.
I don't even want the former. I think it would be incredibly painful working a whole day just looking down. Your neck would be hurting like hell...

Desktop (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245060)

"We'll be talking about a computer in the desk in the future... The devices themselves will get a lot smaller."

So, in the future, we'll be working on really tiny desks? That doesn't sound very ergonomic.

Missing The Point. . . Maybe? (0)

MrJynxx (902913) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240096)

I'm seeing a lot of comments regarding how Gates is behind his time and there's all of these new technologies and languages and how it's making life easy, etc etc.

I suspect Gates is alluding to the fact the engineering aspect of software development is still quite new. To put it into perspective, software engineering has been around for what, 30 MAYBE 40 years? How long have humans been building bridges? thousands of years?

So as you can see, there is a long way to go for improvements into the engineering/process aspects of development.

Who knows, maybe I've missed the point :)

Re:Missing The Point. . . Maybe? (2, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240858)

To put it into perspective, software engineering has been around for what, 30 MAYBE 40 years?
To put into a real perspective, Microsoft software engineering has been around for about 3 years, that's when they changed everything to a 'cool' new technology. I'd say give it 10 years and it'll be another new one, but they're changing it all the time with new stuff that keeps plopping out of MS development/architecture/framework teams.

The reason we build good bridges is because there's only 2 or 3 designs. 1 suspension bridge is pretty much the same as another, when they do try to make something new (eg the Millenium 'Bridge of death' [arup.com] across the Thames which was an upside-down suspension) it wobbled so much they had to close it and debu.. fix it.

The same applies to other engineering structures - skyscrapers, ships, cars, etc. These are all the same pattern and when new ones are built little changes. If there was the same level of "innovation" in engineering as occurs in software, everything would just fall down.

Re:Missing The Point. . . Maybe? (1)

AngelofDeath-02 (550129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22243278)

I see your point, but I differ in opinion.

Suspension bridges have a few critical areas where they HAVE to function. They basically have to support and channel the weight into the load bearing parts of the structures. You can do this in several ways, aesthetically. Not all are created equal.

The same is true for conventional bridges and cars. Angles play a huge role in structural integrity. Everyone gives new car designs crap for being flimsy in an accident, but they are engineering marvels. True - you can't cut the roof off without the frame caving in under the car's weight, but the implementation of crumple zones, collapsing engine mounts, and creative use of bent sheet metal are very effective in absorbing forces that might otherwise kill you. Besides, of course - using sheer force.

I would not want to be a passenger in a 60's car that collides head on with anything of equal mass and rigidity ...

But yes, the base designs are the same, but I think you forget just how important the little changes are.

Re:Missing The Point. . . Maybe? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22244406)

But yes, the base designs are the same, but I think you forget just how important the little changes are
No, I don't. Really I think the little changes are what drives us forward in a progressive way that improves everything, little by little, step by step we get better. (my original posting may not have emphasised this properly).

Look at the new software products and its never a little change, its a large change each time. This is a problem, if they built on what they had, improving it, we'd have good software that would be a it boring, certainly not 'cool' and 'new', but it'd work a lot better.

And strangely I find myself agreeing... (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241348)

He has this exactly right.

Of course his own products, and the incompetence and greed of his company, are a major factor that it is taking so long...

Hey Bill, did you notice the 'I' in 'IT'? (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22244750)

Dear Bill,

The 'I' in 'IT' means 'information'.

What does your software manage ? does it manage information or bits?

All that is needed for an explosive growth of information technology is for software to stop managing bits and start managing information...

The Contridiction of Bill Gates (2, Insightful)

akuzi (583164) | more than 6 years ago | (#22245016)

Does anyone else find it strange that someone who has built the most successful tech company in history continually delivers the most vacuous, cliched and uninteresting technology predictions of any technology pundit?

Productivity vs. Procrastination (1)

framauro13 (1148721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22247162)

Awesome. The faster I can get things done, the longer I can put off doing them!

Gates Says "A Lot of Work" Ahead In IT Development (1)

Kuvter (882697) | more than 6 years ago | (#22247398)

Yeah, they all have to learn Linux or OSX. The easiest way to get away from those pesky problems is to get away from Windows.
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