Tugger the SLUGger!SLUG Mailing List Archives

[chat] Letter to Bill Gates

From one of the TUCOWS columnists - I only wish I could take credit for some 
of it... Marticularly the comments about WinME !!!



To: Bill Gates
From: A consumer 

Dear Bill: 

I am not going to buy a computer with nor 
upgrade my current operating system to Windows XP and I thought you shouldk 
now why because I consider myself a typical computer user and if I'm feeling 
this way, I'm sure others are as well. 

The main reason that I won't buy your new wonder system is this: because of 
all your other wonder systems, all of whichp promised to be better than the 
one before but in fact only succeeded in proving to be more frustrating for 
users like me with limited technical ability. 

I started with Windows 95. That was supposed to be the be-all and end-all 
operating system for home computeru users. And while it was a revolutionary 
product and a boon to all mankind, I'm sorry, it drove me nuts with all its 
freezes and glitches and user-nastiness (which is the opposite of  
user-friendliness). Plus, it panicked me to death with its blue screens of 
death and its frightening "fatal error" messages. Fatal? My god, Bill, I was 
just trying to open up a file! I'm sorry, OK? 

Then I upgraded to Windows 98, which was supposed to be more reliable and 
user-friendly. It wasn't. It was buggy and unstable and crashed all the time 
until the later patches came out, by which time I was so irritated it didn't 
matter. In addition, this version of Windows came with the paperclip. You 
know the paperclip -- the obnoxious, big-eyed, know-nothing paperclip that 
plagued my screen whenever I tried use Microsoft  Word. I hate the paperclip, 
Bill. Everybody hates the paperclip. If it were a real paperclip, I'd bend it 
and twist it until it pleaded for mercy, which, incidentally, I would not 

Anyway, just as I was getting used to the hiccups, glitches and obnoxious 
tendencies of Windows 98, you stuffed all newc computers with Windows 
Millenium edition, including the one I purchased last Christmas. 

I've had this computer for less than a year. Know how many days of carefree 
use I've had with it? None. It crashes and locks up and refuses to shut down 
properly every day, in every way. The company that made my computer assures 
me it's not my computer. It's the operating system. Windows Me - read any 
user board, any magazine - is a hideously slow and buggy system that  refuses 
to cooperate with many peripherals ands eems to work only when it feels like 
it. That it was released at all is a crime. 

Which, in a roundabout way, is my point today. Why should I continue to 
"upgrade" my operating system every two years when the new system isn't  much 
better than the old system and, in fact, is often worse, only in creatively 
different ways? 

Here's how I see operating systems: They should work. Period. 

I know, call me crazy. But we'll have arrived at ultimate operating system 
success  when users like me simply use their systems, instead of trying to 
figure out how to get them to work. It's a subtle difference. Think of it 
this way: When I turn on the TV, I get TV shows. That's it. The TV always 
turns  on and it always turns off. It's reliable in a 
I-don't-have-to-think-about-it way. That's how computers should be. When I 
turn it on, it should come on. When I want to perform a function, I should be 
able to perform a function. Period. 

Now, you can argue that computers are farm ore complex than TV, and that's 
true. But that doesn't relieve Microsoft of its obligation to strive for 
simplicity and reliability. The computer industry is the only industry that I 
can think of that gets away with selling products that aren't utterly reliable. 

For instance, when I buy a sofa, I expect that it will fulfill its function 
every  single time I choose to use it. And it does. I do not have to check to 
 see if all the cushions are still there each time I want to sit. I don't 
have to wonder whether all four legs will be not only present but function 
properly. I don't have to guess whether it will be soft and comfy. These 
things are assumed. 

With computers, you cannot assume. (If you do, you risk - in true "Bad News 
Bears" fashion - making an ass out of u and me. Get it?)

(Oh never mind.) 

When it comes to the free pass we give the computer industry, I like to use 
the car analogy. Would you buy a particular car if you knew that: 

A) It might work, or it might not, or 
B) the manufacturer released the car knowing full-well that it was not a 
complete and reliable product but figured, what the heck, we'll fix it with 
"patches" released in increments over the next few years? And if the  
consumer doesn't like it, well, tough. 

No, you wouldn't. You'd demand that thep roduct be reliable and complete up 
front. And if it weren't and you owned one, you'd demand your money back and 
vow never to touch another product manufactured by that company ever again. 

So why shouldn't we hold you, Mr. Gates, and your company to a similar 

You know the answer. We should but we don't. We play your game. We knuckle 
under. We give you our cash. 

Well, not me. Not this time. I won't be purchasing Microsoft XP. I won't, I tell you. 

OK, sure, Windows Me, which I currentlyu se, is the single worst product ever 
produced by human beings. And sure XP is supposed to be, at long last, a 
reliable,  durable operating system that even computer-losers like me can get 
to work. And sure it's supposed to havea ll sorts of cool upgrades for 
multi-media and all sorts of neat ... 

Oh, hell, I'm lying. Of course I'll upgrade. I'm a computer user. I'm hooked. 
And I desperately want to get rid of Millenium Edition. 

I am yours once again, Bill Gates. 

Damn you.