Thursday, April 04, 2002

Let's screw a billionaire!

All you Bill Gates bashers, listen up. Yeah, Microsoft products have their problems, but admit it - you're just jealous.

OK, I can handle that. I'd just like to channel some of it to other possibly more worthy recipients. My nominees are Steve Case and Larry Ellison.

Steve Case is the Great Satan behind AOL. The saddest insult in modern times was when he acquired proud CompuServe, then decided to market it as a cheaper AOL.

Case is the moral father of the popup ad. AOL was sending that crap back when it ran at 2400bps, which cost me some enamel off my teeth before I ditched it. I realize that otherwise free sites are supported by ads, but AOL wasn't free.

Case blanketed the earth with AOL CDs, then failed to provide the capacity to support the resulting users. To this day every AOL user I know suffers chronically poor dialup service.

Case bought Netscape, and then Microsoft suddenly started having more legal problems. Whether Microsoft fought dirty or not, Netscape was a management debacle - they earn a place in the Hall of Fame alongside WordPerfect, MicroPro (WordStar), Ashton-Tate (dBASE), Borland (Turbo Pascal et al), and Digital Research (CP/M). Maybe if they had done their innovating with code instead of legal theories, Microsoft wouldn't be taking over the browser market. "Poorly debugged set of device drivers" indeed.

It's my understanding that AOL still prevents users from accessing their mail without using AOL's proprietary software. Steve, I realize your users are among the dumbest on the Web, but you don't have to keep them barefoot and pregnant like this.

Then there's Larry Ellison of Oracle. A book about him asks the essential question, what's the difference between God and Larry Ellison? The answer is that God doesn't think he's Larry Ellison.

I use Oracle almost daily, as a programmer. To a certain extent it's only as good as its hardware and administrator. But there are still plenty of problems left, including that antiquated kludge known as SQL*Plus.

Ellison's goons have been major influences in the Justice Department's ongoing harassment of Microsoft for the crime of failing to donate enough money to politicians. Dumpster diving? No problem.

But what earns Ellison a place in Hell just under Satan's tail is his offer to provide a system to give us all national ID cards. Stuff it, Larry.

Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems might not be a billionaire (I don't know), but he deserves honorable mention for his role in trying to compete with Microsoft in the courtroom instead of the marketplace.

Any more nominees?

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