On Slashdot: Why does everyone hate Microsoft?


We don’t even have to discuss it here. Just enjoy the LOOOONG discussion on slashdot.

Because big corporations = evil. Get with the program.


Anyway, I like microsoft because they provide standards, and those standards result in a fantastic development environment, both for games and for apps. The amount of effort microsoft puts in to making development as easy as possible is mindnumbing and awesome at the same time. On top of that, they are constantly looking to improve in terms of developer support.

Besides the development aspect, Windows has the most streamlined and usable interface I’ve ever encountered, and I seriously doubt anyone will be able to top it. Not for a long time anyway.

I don’t “hate” MS any more than I “love” MS. It’s not something I ever really think about. I use their operating systems since that’s where the games are. If computer gaming becomes more popular on another OS, I’ll move to it without a second thought.

Some slashdotters hate MS because they weren’t part of it back in the day.
The rest of them are sheeple just following the meme.

For a corporation, Microsoft have always appeared to be pretty good guys. Bill Gates is extremely generous for one thing. People seem to hate them for doing exactly what any corporation should do: dominate the market.

I think it’s natural to resent a monopoly so I can’t get on people’s case about it. I would agree that a lot of the ire is mis targeted though. If people don’t like a monopoly it’s the government they should be angry at for continuing to allow it, not Microsoft for doing their legal best to do, as Tim pointed, what any corporations should do.

I can’t speak to the development aspect, but in terms of streamlined and usable interfaces, Windows (Vista or XP) has already been topped by OS X Tiger, and I expect Leopard to even be better.

And this is coming from someone who’s done more than his fair share of usability and GUI standardization work on Windows applications, so I’d like to think I’ve got some expertise here.

Can you link some screenshots of the UI?

Also, my statement was more than a little subjectiveness in it. I’m a big fan of UI that uses very little realestate, and doesn’t waste space. I also don’t like dynamic interfaces. I want shit to stay still, and not move.

Sure, I’ll dig some up now, but based on what you say you’re a fan of, you would definitely like OS X’s UI better. The staying still and not moving is a hallmark of it, with the top menu bar being consistent across ALL applications. The dock is also a very efficient quick launcher/open window tool that takes up minimal screen real estate.

The only thing I much prefer in the Windows GUI is how it handles window maximization. OS X doesn’t ever want to make a window “full screen”. Pressing on the OS X equivalent of “maximize” just makes the window the maximum size the OS feels it should be. It seems arbitrary.

You can read all about Tiger (the current version of OS X) here.

Here’s a simple screenshot of the desktop with Finder (their equivalent of Explorer) and Spotlight (the search tool) open:

Here’s a screenshot of Expose in action, it’s still far superior to the flip tabs in Vista and demonstrates the worst case scenario of an incredibly busy system, this is how all open windows are displayed while you hold down a function key. Notice the consistency of the top menu bar.:

Lots more where those came from.

I know I’m a picky bastard but I can see a bunch of stuff in there that would annoy the piss out of me.

First, the top menu bar may be the same between apps, but it looks like the name moves the actual menus around – this breaks my rule of no movement. On windows, the main menu might be different per app, but the menus always start in the same place on a maximized app.

I also dislike the wasted space to the right and left of that app bar thing. And it’s way bigger than it needs to be.

Your bit about maximizing would kill the OS for me if nothing else did.

Woo hoo, it’s an anti-Microsoft backlash backlash thread! Or is it a backlash backlash backlash?

I don’t have a problem with Windows, but I have little experience with other OS’s (unless you want to go back to AmigaDOS or Workbench or whatever), so I don’t have much to compare it to. My experience of Mac OS’s, in the limited time I have used them, is basically “same stuff, but a little different.” I’m sure with more experience the little things become more important but I don’t think my taste is that refined.

I did find Win 98 to crash a lot, but since XP in 2001 I’ve been more or less satisfied.

Yeah, the app title does shift the menus over, so I can see that bugging you.

The wasted space on the app bar (the Dock) thing is customizable. As is its size, transparency, and content. It can be hidden (auto-reveal on mouse-over or not) as well.

The maximizing thing… yeah. It’s a weird one. It’s a bit of a mindset thing, and my biggest dislike of OS X. I believe the app basically looks at your screen resolution, and the content within the window, and makes a “best guess” as to how big it should get. Sometimes that takes up most of the screen. Usually not.

The Apple GUI standards are rigidly enforced, unlike the Windows ones (which are more suggestions than standards) and that does make for a big difference in day-to-day usage. But, there’s no denying it, there is a learning curve for hardcore Windows users. It’s just one that I was willing to overcome. And now I’m equally at home in OS X and Windows. I prefer OS X, but due to circumstance, spend most of my time running XP at the moment.

I have two Windows PCs (one running Vista, the other running Server 2003) and a Mac (Tiger) at home and support both platforms at work.

While there are many things Mac OS does better than Windows, I still choose a Windows box for my primary desktop machine. The maximizing windows issue described above really is a killer for me; far too often it results in the need to scroll horizontally, which has got to be one of the biggest annoyances in computer use. Closing a window not closing the related app is also a nuisance for those of us used to this bahaviour on Windows, but I quickly learned to use the command+q shortcut.

Spotlight is about a million times better than Microsoft’s search function, though, and the iLife apps (iPhoto, iMovie, etc.) are much better than the equivalent freebies included with Windows.

Geeks who are pissed off at having their lunches stolen during high school overly-empathizing with the underdog. It makes them cool to be different.

Disdain of people who are disdainful of you is a self-defense mechanism.

IMHO slashdot used to have more interesting comments. People wrote virtual encyclopedia articles that were very instructive. It seems there’s a heck lot more snarky remarks.

One only has to look at the tone Slashdot posters took with Red Hat before and after it went public to see this. Even though Red Hat has done much for the Linux movement, the moment they started making serious money off of Linux, they were just another “M$” to many members.

The app name is a menu as well, so the menus actually do always start in the same place.

As Ephraim mentioned, the Dock (the app bar) is fairly customizable. I strongly dislike the default configuration, and prefer to make it small, vertical, and pinned at the upper right of the screen. It’s still not the most inspiring bit of UI in OS X, although it serves its purpose.

App maximizing is substantially different under OS X. Windows encourages using the entire screen for a single app at a time; most other operating systems don’t. Personally, I dislike the approach many Windows users seem to follow–I’ve got a large screen, and I don’t want to use it all for just one thing.

On hating Microsoft: I think that Microsoft has done more to retard the development of computing than any other company. They have a monopoly in the desktop operating system market, and they aggressively leverage that monopoly to crush the competition in other markets. Their OSs are clumsy, painful to administer, and horrifying to develop for. I want to be able to choose not to use Microsoft software–but, thanks to their monopolistic domination of the market, I can’t do that without cutting myself off from numerous things that I do want to use. (Games, of course, being foremost on that list.)

Microsoft is a very unpleasant company to get in the way of. They are masters of FUD, often preferring to market their competition to death rather than fight on technical grounds. They betray partners on a regular basis. (The discarding of PlaysForSure being a recent example.) They pioneered the strategy of “embrace and extend”, using monopoly power to undermine open standards.

Most of this behavior isn’t limited to them. I’m certain that if Apple had been the winner of the desktop operating system wars, they’d be behaving in the same way today. But it turns out that Microsoft is the 800-pound gorilla that we have to deal with, and they don’t play nice with others. I’d very much like to see them cut down to size. The world is a better place with competition in it, and Microsoft is a company that despises competition.

I used to worry about this, too.

Then I realized that for whatever reason, Adobe Photoshop is still better than any bitmap editing application, pro or not, that Microsoft has managed to do. And the market recognizes it.

The same goes for Google as a search engine, when compared to Live Search. Or Quicken when compared to Microsoft Money. And more recently, the Zune compared to the iPod. Microsoft may despise competition, most companies want to “win”, but they haven’t managed to crush it by any means.

So now I just shake my head in pity at the dying revenue stream that MS Office stands for, and wonder just how badly Microsoft’s desktop market share is going to be eroded by Apple and various Linux distros.

You mean all of that “legal” stuff they were convicted for in a court of law?

There’s a key difference between Photoshop and Windows: You don’t need to use Photoshop to edit images. You can choose an alternative if you want. (For example, The Worst Named Program Ever. Err, I mean The Gimp.)

If you want to play Company of Heroes, however, you need to use Windows. And this is a self-reinforcing situation–since you need Windows to play just about any games, all gamers have Windows. Since all gamers have Windows, there’s no incentive for developers to make portable games. Since just about no developers make portable games, you need to have Windows to play games.

Someone could come out with an a better alternative to Windows tomorrow, unquestionably better in every way possible. And it wouldn’t matter, since it wouldn’t be better in the only way that counts–it wouldn’t run any Windows software.

MS Office…is in an interesting position, both similar and different. It’s a monopoly, but it remains there partly through a lack of competent competition. I’m not entirely certain what I think of Office. (Well, other than the fact that it really should have been broken off from the rest of Microsoft by antitrust regulators. But that’s a different story.)

Open Office is a completely competent MS Office competitor, but that’s neither here nor there. OS dominance creates a feedback loop of development, but there’s no reason there needs to be a 90/5/5 split. Look at the video game console wars(which is sort of a simplified version of the same situation). There’s no reason Linux has to be the Jaguar to Windows’ PS1, get a little better at basic web-surfing/photo collecting/light office work/etc. type shit and it can maybe take a shot at being the Gamecube.