Let's trash Bill Gates

Windows is just software. Like Fortran it will eventually disappear. Bill will be left with Word and similar junk.
I liked wordprocessors when they didn’t highlight and link everything.I’d prefer Notepad.Leave the fancy stuff for publishing professionals.

Bill and Melinda Gates hope to make an
enduring contribution toward increasing access to innovations in education, technology, and world health. More than eleven billion dollars in endowments have been set aside for these causes.


Being a big UNIX head, I have no love for Gates, but should this really be in General Questions?

As far as the Gates Foundation goes…
It’s called image management. When the richest man in the world is most comonly compared to an evil dictator, it is only natural that he starts to through around some cash.

How general can you get? Besides we aren’t flaming a board member here, and the trivia mundane questions area is pretty quiet.Don’t worry, a lousy topic will sink fast, I know from having posted several.

We’ll burn those bridges when we get there.

Fortran has not dissapeared. Neither has Cobol, which I think is older. I think new standards for both recently came out.

Yes, Word has a lot of features not needed for standard word processing. You can keep using Notepad, or Wordpad, though. I am using them right now. Aren’t those standard PC installs?

For Gates and MS bashing, I posted a thread about Not being Able to Unsubscribe from MS Mail Lists in the MPSIMS forum.

Who uses Fortran? The last program I wrote was in 1979 in Basic.

Foundations are fully tax exempt. A nice gesture. Sometimes they make foundations and then they borrow money from their own foundations…

Other than that, I would think that BG would wear better clothes and have a better hair cut.

sunbear, I am ostensibly responsible for maintaining a system written in Fortran. What’s really frightening is that when they moved to Unix, they wrote the front end GUIs in C and left the Fortran code for the guts. When I asked my boss of the time why anyone would write anything in Fortran, he said “Well, I wrote it that way because I find Fortran easier to understand for complex equations”. Oops. (It’s a geophysical program, he’s a geophysicist.)

Mastery is not perfection but a journey, and the true master must be willing to try and fail and try again


FORTRAN is still incredibly popular in the engineering crowd, as well as physics and meteorology. The first engineering class I had taught two things: 1) what engineering was and 2) FORTRAN.

The engineering community is much different than the computer science community. In fact, you could probably say there is no such thing as the latter. CS people are highly individual and will try lots of new things. Engineering is much more of a conservative discipline that likes to stick to the “tried and true”. If it works fine for the engineer you work under, you’ll be using it, too.

Actually, for certain technical reasons (far less aliasing, and therefore better vectorization and parallelization – if you don’t understand that, then you need a much longer explanation than is possible here) FORTRAN still produces significantly faster object code, especially when running on supercomputers. It’s intrinsic to the language; combined FORTRAN/C compilers will give better number-crunching results from FORTRAN source code than from superficially equivalent C code.

As for the main point, Bill Gates is a lying little megalomaniacal leech who’s held back the progress of the computer industry by at least ten years. He’s never had any “vision” and damn little talent; his success stems solely from the fact that he’s used his money and monopoly power from the very beginning to crush any opposition that looked healthy. (Yes, he was born a multimillionaire; Microsoft doesn’t like to talk about that.)

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams


I’m afraid I’m going to have to strongly disagree with you on your first point. If you had said C++, I might have bought it - but not C. You might be talking about specific library implementations that usually come standard with C. But that doesn’t mean you can’t write a better one. C is so low-level that there is simply nothing you can’t write using it that would be faster in FORTRAN. I don’t think this would be a good place to debate that point, but I just wanted to make sure people didn’t only see your opinion on it. Bottom line: C is assembler with curly braces.

(For the record, I don’t like C. But I’ve used it enough to know its advantages and drawbacks. I should also mention that I don’t like FORTRAN much, either. Beats the hell out of basic, though…).
As far as Bill goes… don’t get me started. He and his company are so anti-freedom it’s ludicrous. They’d be thrilled if MS was the only OS available and the only people allowed to program for it were MS employees.

Well, this discussion was of some use after all. i guess I have to wait till my son does programming to see where it’s at by then, in 9-10 years…

For a similar discussion, see my posting ‘Why is Microsoft less popular than IBM’ from May 1.

Regarding Fortran, I searched Yahoo and found:
http://wwwcn.cern.ch/asdoc/f90.html - Fortran90 tutorials.
http://www.polyhedron.co.uk/winnl.html - Article on ways to convert Fortran programs to run under Windows.
http://www.fortran.com/fortran/fug.html - Fortran user’s group.
http://www.digital.com/fortran - Visual Fortran for Windows NT, Windows 95, OpenVMS and Digital UNIX.

It lives! Likewise, I heard there are more lines of Cobol still in existence than any other program language. My work place still uses Cobol. The thing is, languages are task specific.
Fortan - for science, engineering.
Cobol - for business data processing.
JAVA/C/C++ - for software and systems.

So the new languages, Java and C, never really replaced Fortran and Cobol. They are used for different purposes. Likewise, Windows didn’t replace DOS. Windows is an interace on top of DOS. DOS is still there on all those Wintel machines. Assembly and Machine Language are at the bottom. So, new languages and interfaces are like layers on top of the old layers, not replacements.

To clarify, C/C++ is the same type of “layer” as FORTRAN and COBOL. I didn’t want people getting the impression that they were an additional layer.

Java on the other hand… well, it’s harder to explain. It’s definitely not a layer onto FORTRAN or COBOL or anything. But it doesn’t work quiet the same. Bah, it’s not important to most people on the board anyway.

Look, I can’t possibly go into details of optimization theory here. All I can tell you is that it’s a plain fact that FORTRAN semantics differ from C semantics in such a way that object code in the number-crunching domain runs much faster on parallel, vector and superscalar machines (and somewhat faster on simpler architectures) when it is written in FORTRAN. The main reasons are that FORTRAN does not have the “address-of” operator and that it is illegal in FORTRAN for two arguments to the same subprogram to refer to the same storage. From time to time proposals are made to modify C to get around these problems (chiefly by proposing some form of “noalias” keyword for declarations), but, so far, these changes have not been accepted.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

Back to the original topic.

There is no doubt that Bill Gates would like for MS to be the only OS and the only software company.

The question I have is, how many given similar circumstances would not have done the same.

If I had a business, I would want to be the only one selling my product, as least up to my production capability.

Some have said that he had no vision of technology and that he has hurt the computer industry. That may very well be true, but it is hard to argue that he has done what he wanted to do and that is make lots of money in the software industry.

Sure he has bought smaller competitors, sure he has thrown his weight around.

Is the reason people dislike him so due to the fact that he is rich (that is like saying the ocean is wet)?

I am not Bill’s biggest fan, but I got to admire what he has done.

SadisticWeasel, right, I didn’t mean to say new languages are new layers, like I did in that last sentence. I only meant to say new interfaces are like new layers, like Windows is to DOS.

I only meant to say new Interfaces and the new languages I cited are similar because they didn’t replace the old technology. I thought I was clear except that last sentence got garbled.

As for Bill Gates, part of his dislike is due soley to the AMOUNT of money he made. His other dislike comes from the WAY he made it. Several questionable practices that someone else can probably explain better.

COBOL: Completely Obsolete Business Oriented Language :slight_smile:

John Kennedy, “As for the main point, Bill Gates is a lying little megalomaniacal leech who’s held back the progress of the computer industry by at least ten years. He’s never had any “vision” and damn little talent; his success stems solely from the fact that he’s used his money and monopoly power from the very beginning to crush any opposition that looked healthy. (Yes, he was born a multimillionaire; Microsoft doesn’t like to talk about that.)”

John, if you are going to trash Gates for “using his money” and “crushing opposition”, can you give us an example of a CEO that didn’t do that? Are there any CEOs that you like? Seems to me Gates is no worse than other CEOs, he just made more money.

“He’s never had any “vision” and damn little talent.”
Again, compared to who? Lou Gerstner? Larry Ellison? Jim Clark? I don’t think so.

“who’s held back the progress of the computer industry by at least ten years.”
It seems to me there has been A LOT of computer progress in the last 20 years, in the age of MicroSoft. There has been a revolution in the industry like never before.
New technology is appearing and changes are happening so quickly it is hard to keep up with.

Thank God we don’t live in the IBM era anymore. Talk about monopolies and holding back progress. From 1950-1980, the computer industry was dominated by the stuffy, old, IBM (Big-Blue) and their white-shirts and ties. Did those people even have a personality? Was there more progress with JCL/Cobol and mainframes? They went from puch-cards to dumb terminals. Yes, that was nice, but not as exciting as the changes that have taken place since 1980 with MicroSoft, PC’s, and the internet.

Since you obviously weren’t paying attention in high school, I see no point in trying to teach you U.S. History, but if you really want to learn, try looking under “monopoly” in any encyclopedia.

Some modern CEO’s are indeed no greater prophets than Gates. But they don’t hold themselves up as visionaries, either. Gates, disgustingly, does.

Hardware technology, yes. But I’ve been in this business since the mid-60’s, and I’ve been working with PC’s since 1982. Bill Gates’ megalomania and failure to understand newer software technology (like OO) is directly responsible for the four or five generations of botched PC operating systems we have had to deal with. An operating system as good as Windows 2000 is supposed to be (but almost certainly won’t be) was possible at least ten years ago. IBM tried to create it back in 1987 with OS/2, but made the mistake of letting Gates run away with it. He sabotaged it with unfixable design errors, took forever to come out with applications (which then turned out to be barely-adequate ports of Windows applications), stalled on the x386 version, and lied, lied, lied about supporting it, right up to the very day that NT was announced.

Clueless. Utterly clueless. How about a few IBM inventions like:

magnetic tape,
floppy disks,
compilers, and
relational data bases?

COBOL, by the way, was not an IBM invention, but a government imposition. Many feel that IBM’s earlier language COMTRAN was far superior, and IBM spent years both trying to replace COBOL with better languages such as PL/I and extending COBOL so as to make it usable.

By the way, OS/390 still runs programs written for OS/360 in 1966. A DOS/Windows programmer is lucky if his program runs on two successive releases.

Oh, by the way, Microsoft didn’t do one damn thing to establish the Internet.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams