Page of complaints about Microsoft, Bill Gates, Windows...your contributions are welcomed....


Windows Upgrades

Did you know that your real time applications do crash to disaster whenever the Windows O.S. tries to automatic check for updates by contacting Microsoft?

Crashing Windows:

Thursday, august 2nd 2001, the entire world could wittness the extreme arrogance and power hunger of Microsoft: they were at the origin of a catastrophical crash at a real time interactive concert held at the Logos Foundation. The automats used for the concert were all controlled by Windows based computers. In the midst of the concert, exactly at 21:00 and -obviously unintended by the artists- one of the Win98 based computer decided to run a 'utility' build in Windows to speed up access to your most frequently used programs... This utility was not started nor installed by the artists. It is apparently a part the Microsoft's operating system. Since the programs running (GMT applications developed by the artists) are strictly real time, this Microsoft policy caused a total crash during the concert that was broadcast live on the Internet.

Needless to say the artists involved had rehearsed the concert at least ten times beforehand. The only thing they never did try, was starting the rehearsal at 20h15 such that the crash would happen at 21h00...

Since the introduction, if not imposition of Windows NT and Windows 2000 as an operating system for Intel processor based computers, the real users of these machines, became more and more deprived of their hardware. Ever tried to design your own ISA or PCI card and get it to do something under Windows without crashing the whole system? Ever tried writing your own device interrupt handler to work under windows?

Ever tried to use you printer port to controll you own external hardware device , under Windows 2000 ??? You cannot even write to your own I/O ports!!! Moreover, for real time app's there is not even an alternative left, since more recent ports such as USB all seam to use streaming.

Why did'nt they upgrade DOS to a full 32-bit real-time multitasking O.S. not requiring the Win98 GUI, or even worse Win2000's multitasker? How can we prevent Windows taking possession of all our hardware resources? Do we really have to go for Linux? There is not even a decent Basic compiler (something like PowerBasic for instance...) for Linux available...

This is really computertheft! What would you say if you just bought a car that, as you discovered, would refuse to drive you out of the country? Or, a radio set that can only be tuned into the government station...

We want our computers back!

The programmers at Microsoft that worked on the screen- and powersaving procedures must be extremely one-dimensional people. Activity of a system for them seems to be exclusively related to mouse movement or keyboard input.... There is - as far as we know- nothing implemented to prevent Windows from entering sleep mode during a long timecritical and I/O intensive procedure ... (Unless you disable all power saving features of course). This is very anoying for musicians using computers on stage...

Visual Basic is really a very cruel murder commited on Basic, a most wonderfull language that was developed originally to let users program their computers without having to adopt a complete ideology: the 'Visual' character of a world. For anyone interested in using computers for realtime tasks, -as musicians tend to be- this ideology equals a form of fascism.

Ever tried your PC to do precise timing in the millisecond, let alone the microsecond range? Ever tried to adress you own ISA-card in your PC and try to make it do anything under this Trivial Basic?

However there are some alternatives: using PowerBasic is one possibility. The newest PB console compiler just came out this month (Version 2.00). It has a very nice editor, but the most shitty debugger in the world -if you love system crashes, just try it...- and it gives complete access to the Win32Api. Unfortunately, to take profit from the latter, it seems virtually impossible for an individual developper to get to the proper Microsoft documentation essential to use this wealth of DLL based functions and procedures. The software developper kit microsoft suggests using is priced a hefty US$ 4000 !!!. However this non-microsoft Basic is still a zillion times beter than VB. It has a great inline assembler, with full support for MMX operations, although there is a lack of documentation on its limitations.

Microsoft's marketing politics are plain racist: living in Flanders, Microsoft enforces me to choose their software in either French or Dutch as well as to use a completely silly and French-oriented AZERTY keyboard. (a left-over from years of French occupation and oppression over Flanders). I have to get my OS versions and applications in the US, because I do almost all my work in English. It is impossible to obtain Microsoft software here from their retailers in its original language. Why can't Microsoft tolerate people to choose their language no matter what country they happen to live in ???

Why can't we choose different languages for different applications on one and the same machine? Anyone who does programming, does this in the native language of programming: like it or not, it's English.

Flanders is a multilingual place to begin with: our survival depends on our capability to use and switch between many different languages!

The debate and the lawsuits against Microsoft over the browser integration issue (Internet Explorer under Windows98 versus Netscape) is just plain ridiculous: if we agree that the internet can be regarded as a world wide computer network, than it is absolutely evident that any modern operating system should integrate its access in its software, just as it does for other networking. We consider this lawsuit as mediaeval and based on nothing but protectionism.

At the other hand, in the lawsuit and case over Java, Sun and other complainers are quite right. Here microsoft is taking over a programming language that ought to be a collective good. Its plain imperialism. Microsoft does here again exactly the same as what they did with the beautifull BASIC language: they cruelly rape it and deprive humanity of a collective tool for expression, selfrealisation and production.

Fortunately, we still have Power Basic!

One of the most stupid inventions is the mouse. Microsoft took it over from poor rotten Apple, therewith unidimensionalizing and visualizing the way users interact with computers. Mice are inherently 'monophonic' instruments and go against the nature of the human motoric, being inherently polyphonic! We can do and controll a lot of different gestures at the same time. Only if we one-dimensionalize our senses to the poor and very slow visual, we become awkwardly crippled. Being trained musicians, we know what we are talking about. Keyboards are by far superior to pointing devices. We could have improved them, by allowing simultaneous key combinations with all fingers and pressure controll for instance. Pedals could be a good idea as well.

pentium chip graffitiIntel Pentium chip contains "message" about Bill Gates. Time Magazine reports an interesting case of high-tech graffiti. It seems that a couple of Intel engineers working on the design of a recent version of the Pentium microprocessor included a message that describes their feelings about Bill Gates, president of Microsoft, a good corporate pal of Intel's. When a portion of the Pentium chip is examined under a powerful scanning-electron microscope, the phrase "bill sux" is clearly visible, etched into the surface of the chip. The "flaw" in the chip was only discovered by accident well after the chip was released into the market, too late for Intel to prevent the chip from being used in the manufacture of tens of thousands of PCs. Intel says that both engineers responsible were former employees of Motorola, makers of the chips that are the heart of the now obsolete Apple Macintosh. Both engineers have since been fired by Intel.

One of the most ennoying properties of microsoft software is met by everyone who -as all users end up doing about every 3 years- buys a new computer and wants to go on working on the new machine with all data, documents, programs as you became used to. It takes you days and days. Often you will have to go through the whole history of application software just to reinstall your regular wordprocessor. (Example: we installed Office95 as an upgrade on a computer that had Worstar for Windows installed. Within office, we got Word7 from a Microsoft Works CD. Then if you want to get this software properly installed on the brandnew machine, you are forced to first do a complete and unneccesary install of Wordstar for Windows.... etc. To make matters even worse, in our case we had first to convert that ancient programs installation disks from their 5inch floppies to 3inches... on an even older legacy machine that we still had around somewhere. Unlucky those people that by now already got rid of their retired AT's...) There should be an easy way, not only to upgrade software on a given computer configuration, but also to upgrade hardware preserving all properly installed software. Instead of firing up the market for new computers, Microsoft scares users to go for shopping a new PC. Everytime I have a new PC on my desk (and that happens about every year...) I am forced to spend about a week on installing all my software and settings again.......

Since the imposition of GUI's on computers, programming skills have gone through many stages of qualitative degradation. Not amazing, since GUI's force you to spend about 80% of your time on completely irrelevant visual and fancy interface details thus blocking programmers development of real problem solving skills. It's not amazing to understand why the software scene has not shown significant signs of improvement in the realms of a.i.-research, neural nets, pattern recognition...

* Onlangs verscheen de nieuwste Power Basic Console Compiler: PbCC versie 2.0. We hebben de soft reeds uitvoerig getest. In vergelijking met PB3.5 is er eindelijk een decente editor voorhanden. Ondersteuning van elementaire muis-funties is nu eveneens ingebouwd. De Basic implementatie heeft echter af te rekenen met volgende kleine mankementen en deficienties:

Behalve voor de grafische beperkingen, konden we alle andere mankementen wel goed ondervangen. Heel goed vinden we de interne ondersteuning van matrix algebra operaties in dit Basic!. Fantastisch is ook (eindelijk) het wegvallen van lengte beperkingen voor de kode modules en programmas. Het kompileren verloopt bijzonder snel en is erg efficient.Website: Dit neemt niet weg dat het produkt vele malen superieur is aan Microsoft's ellendige Visual Basic. Daarom beslisten we vanaf nu voor al onze software projekten toch over te schakelen op het gebruik van deze kompiler. Seder 03.08.1998 is dan ook alle Microsoft PDS kode van onze website weggehaald ( in de directories .../logos/gmt/ en in .../logos/harmlib/...) en vervangen door source kode geschreven in PB-DLL 7.04. Last but not least merken we op dat de compiler volledige toegang geeft tot de Windows Win32Api, wat veel hiervoor geopperde bezwaren kan ondervangen.


Awfull bugs encountered in Microsoft software... (this list is obviously just a glimpse of what there is in terms of stupidity...)

The policy of Microsoft to automate upgrades and bug fixes in their operating system and other software by connecting you automatically to the internet, leads to a serious narrowing of available bandwidth on the internet. Particularly because the way Microsoft implements it is extremely wastefull. My network at Logos consists of some 20 computers, in a lovely anarchist peer to peer configuration and all of them individually connect to the microsoft sites to look for upgrades... They could highly improve their upgrading strategy by first looking into the local network to see wether the upgraded code modules are already available on some nearby machine in the LAN, before allowing each machine to perform its individual downloads...

Are there brains out there at Microsoft?

10.2002: Just bought a couple of new laptops. They all came with Windows XP. Xp does not have even half as many software timers as Windows98, so our robotic software does not run under XP. Ever tried downgrading? It's a nightmare...

Moreover, they came in the local language (dutch) and no way to get them to speak english!!! That's linguistic fascism.

Last Updated: 2005-08-27by dr.Godfried-Willem RAES

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