Eightball and Thundercloud's RANT

Our Little Rant by Eightball & Thundercloud
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Defending Goliath

It would easier defending David than Goliath. It’s quite politically correct to attack “big business” and especially correct to attack big businesses that are accused of being “monopolies”. But, we’re not politically correct and we are going to defend Goliath. You know how we are :)

Goliath’s name in this case is “Microsoft” and David represents almost everyone else. How can we defend Microsoft you say? “They must be getting something from Microsoft to write this” you think. But, we can defend Microsoft simply by saying most of you would not be enjoying the Internet, emailing your friends, chatting, or browsing had it not been for Microsoft Windows. And, no we’re not getting a thing from Microsoft. No free software. Not a dime. Heck, we can’t even get them to add our stationery site to the link that is included in Outlook and Outlook Express that says “More stationery”. We think they should. But that’s another story.

We chortle with delight when we see all these questions from people writing asking us why they can’t use our stationery in “Mozilla” or “Thunderbird” or why they can’t download Windows updates with “Mozilla Firefox”, “Mozilla”, ”Netscape”, or “Opera” browsers. Or “Why can’t I use the online gaming sites I used to? I recently switched to “Mozilla”, could that have something to do with it?”

Chortle? Well, yes, sort of. We have written many times in our newsletters about switching browsers and making the new browser the “default” browser. We warned you that if and when a particular browser became popular it would become a target of the hackers and miscreants that have exploited the security “holes” in Microsoft’s “Internet Explorer” browser. These malcontents have now turned their attention to these alternative browsers. Almost weekly (and sometimes more often) there are new “flaws” (holes) found in Mozilla browsers. One of the most recent ones hasn’t (as of this writing) been correctly patched yet; a full week after it was discovered.  And, it will only get worse, folks.

For those of you not familiar with the Mozilla Organization, here’s quick biographical sketch: Mozilla has been around for a few years. When AOL bought Netscape they decided not to spend any money on the further development of it and turned the “Netscape Project” over to a group of volunteers called “The Mozilla Organization”. They (Mozilla Organization) wrote the code for the newest Netscape Browser (which is a real no-no since it installs everything from AIM to Uncle John’s Sea Bond) and their own browsers “Mozilla” and “Firefox”. They slogged along esoterically enjoyed cult success in relative 'Net obscurity. Their only reason for existence, we swear, is to get back at Microsoft for being so popular, but that’s just our own warped opinion. They certainly have the right to do whatever they please. Competition is a good thing.

A few months ago, before Windows XP Service Pack 2 was released, Internet Explorer was being attacked by all sorts of new exploits written by, we suppose, bored, unemployed, coders just because they could. Internet Explorer was staggered and Microsoft was forced to issue security patch after security patch to its users to slap over the holes in their browser. Well, it wasn’t too long before the sharpies at CERT issued a warning that Internet Explorer was so full of flaws that everyone should switch to alternate browsers. CERT is notoriously anti-Microsoft so that was to be expected. The press which is also mostly anti-Microsoft reveled in their glee when the CERT announcement was released. And, went gaga when the U.S. government issued similar warnings around the same time. Now, the U.S. government issuing a warning about flaws, is a serious case of the pot calling the kettle black. That’s fodder for another rant someday :-)

So, Mozilla crawled out its arcane lair and into the bright light of the mainstream. Several million people flocked to download it, mostly those who had seen the warnings about Internet Explorer on the decidedly anti-Microsoft CNN and other news sources. Most who downloaded Mozilla or Firefox made it their default browser. And hence, lost some functionality. Therefore we get tons of questions about why they can no longer do this or that. Functionality always comes at a cost.

As Mozilla crawled out of its primordial cave, a bull's-eye was concurrently strapped on its back and it became a target of the same unemployed, bored, scumbags, who, turned their glassy eyes away from Microsoft and toward Mozilla, FireFox (et. al.) to expose flaws in this software and make life miserable for all of us. I suppose writing one of these exploits is a sort of badge of honor among the citizenry of Scumopulous. They are hoping someday they can get a real job working for IBM or even Microsoft.  I doubt they’d really want to work for a living; they might have to get up before noon and give up smoking dope on the job.

When Windows XP Service Pack 2 was released it shored up Internet Explorer as well as in Windows itself. Microsoft did a great job with Windows XP SP2. It’s not perfect but it has reduced the number of exploits and made Internet Explorer more secure and Windows more safe.

Meanwhile, the popularity of Mozilla grew thanks to a zealous press, including many  “computer magazines”. And, of course, the many thousands of Microsoft bashing Web sites on the Internet extolled the virtues of Mozilla, FireFox and the other. Internet Explorer has been wounded by the bad press and by being a huge target for hackers and other slimeballs. Not many like a winner. Even fewer like a big winner.

Mozilla and Firefox are not perfect and recently more flaws have been found in these browsers than have been found, in the same time span, in Internet Explorer running on XP with Service Pack 2 installed. And the rush to exploit flaws in Mozilla is just beginning. As Mozilla gains in popularity, the pressure will be on them to add more functionality to compete with Goliath's browser. As more functionality is added, more flaws will surface. It’s the perfect “catch-22”.

So, all those who rushed out and downloaded Mozilla and Firefox on the word of a bevy of pseudo-experts are now dealing with the restricted functionality of those browsers. And you're wondering why. Now they’re realizing they’re back to the same old cycle they were used to with Internet Explorer: downloading security patch after security patch to fix one new vulnerability after another. They have yet to realize they are worse off than before. Before, at least they had the functionality they liked. We imagine it will dawn on them soon. And we have seen many returning to IE as their primary browser.

Are we saying there should be no other browser but Internet Explorer? No. We’re saying that everyone needs to base their decision on truth and reality and not on the word of organizations whose prejudice is against Microsoft. Alternate browsers are fine and if they work for you, great! But, for people to be duped by a biased press and sites with unbridled anti-Microsoft stances, into thinking these alternative browsers are invincible is very troubling. Where and what is the truth?

We are defending Goliath today. We stand with Microsoft. Millions of ordinary people are having fun with their computers today thanks to Microsoft Windows. Many companies excel on the Internet today because of Microsoft’s products. If they’re a monopoly then so be it. They didn't force anyone not to buy a Mac. They don't hover over you and tell you that you can't use Linux. If you choose not to use Windows you have a choice: Apple, Linux, Linspire, and others are available and they would be glad to have you use their products and break your reliance on Microsoft. But Microsoft is certainly not a monopoly. They're not the only game in town. It's simple: People like their products better than the others. Period.

We feel that Microsoft has always been committed to improving their products. Consider the days of Windows 95 and compare them to Windows XP. Who, in their right mind would ever trade Windows XP for Windows 95 or even 98? Consider the recently released Service Pack 2 for Windows XP that was created because Microsoft cared about its users security. Microsoft lost a lot of money by distributing XP SP2 on CD-ROM free but considered the safety and security it provides to be paramount.

Microsoft Windows has made computers accessible to those with few computer skills, they’ve made it easy for developers to create software for Windows and they’ve opened the door to a brave new world to people who would have otherwise never been able to walk through it.

Bill Gates (Microsoft's founder) has personally donated over 30 billion dollars to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation which contributes millions of dollars to help fight disease, establish college endowments for the needy, provide computers for schools located in poverty-stricken areas, and other philanthropic activities. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the world's largest philanthropic organization helping people all around the world. You can read more about The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation by clicking here.

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