Online article: "Microsoft funds African PCs amid open source debate"

Eric Dunbar eric.dunbar at
Thu Oct 6 15:27:36 CDT 2005

On 10/6/05, Michael Shigorin <mike at> wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 10:57:50PM -0400, Eric Dunbar wrote:
> > Windows 95 runs quite comfortably on a P I/166 64 MB RAM 1 GB
> > HD with IE 5.5 and Office 97
> I was running Linux 2.2, XFree86 3.3.6 and KDE 1.1.2 on K6/166
> with 32Mb back in '99 or so in the university just fine (things
> were worse with SO5.2 but still bearable IIRC).  And people were
> complaining that KDE1.0b was way more lean than actual KDE1.0,
> they were running that beta with 16M RAM!


> > I'm not try to advocate that Win 95 is _better_ than Linux.
> > Merely point out that propaganda is different from reality.
> Especially yours.
> PS: Eric, I don't intend to hurt your feelings but *please* go
> and get your facts straight -- or don't forget to add common tags
> like "IMHO" or "X-Ears: Red" to highly taste-dependent messages.

I found it rather amusing to read your post, and, must admit that it
is very tempting to reply point-for-point, but will limit myself to a
brief response.

(a) I am no fan of any variant of Windows. Never have and am not currently;
(b) To me, a computer is a *tool*, espeically if it runs useful software;
(c) I really want to see "free" (both beer AND OR speech) software
evolve to the point where it is a 100% usable alternative;

To address your post: I hate to break it to you but the world is not
black or white.

Propaganda and dogmatic approaches may win debates, and, may even win
arguments, but it doesn't make them anymore right. Repeating, ad
nauseum, that Linux is _better_ than Windows or failing to acknowledge
the power of a particular Windows combo makes you no better than the
Microsoft spin-doctors.

For example, DOS and Windows 3.1 were far inferior operating systems
compared to what Apple offered in the contemporary Mac operating
systems (especially when you compared DOS 5.x to Mac System 6 in
1990), yet, through good _marketing_ and strategic decisions Microsoft
became the operating system "of choice". It didn't rise to the top
because it was good (people on DOS were much less productive than
their contemporaries on Mac), but because Gates et al. were good
salesmen and made good strategic business decisions.

You must wake up and smell the coffee -- propaganda may keep the
"faithful" going but it turns off realists. One whiff of propaganda
and a realist's BS-meter will fly off the scale and they'll dismiss
your "cause" (which is unfortunately what Linux is to some... they're
blinded by their cause).

To finish off on a positive note... I'm extremely impressed by Linux
and how far it's come since I first started dabbling with it 3 years
ago (and using it 1 year ago). I am also confident that it will become
much better in the coming years, probably even improving to the point
where I could recommend it to someone who uses computers as a _tool_
and not as entertainment (which most of us on here do... for many of
us (most?) the Linux computer is the end, not the means and that's why
we're drawn to Linux... we're happy fiddling with things to get them
going and don't mind a little sweat... unfortunately, Linux does not
readily become a tool without sweat (which is what closed source
pacakges offer... a tool out of the box, no configuration required)).


More information about the sounder mailing list