Some bloggers have suggested that ripping on Microsoft is going out of style… but this week Microsoft’s beleaguered IIS web server got bested by the open source NGINX web server.
My beefs with Microsoft are many, however, I will tip my hat to Bill Gate’s many generous donations to charity. That’s really the most remarkable thing about Microsoft: it gave birth to one of the most magnanimous philanthropists of an entire generation, and no words can express thanks for that.
BUT…. historically, Microsoft’s products have typically been poor knock-offs of existing technology. You get an inferior product AND you have to PAY for it: it’s the worst kind of insidious lose-lose situation imaginable.
Let’s take a quick waltz through history and review products that Microsoft has ripped-off (thank you David A. Wheeler):
- BASIC: Microsoft’s BASIC was released in 1975, but BASIC itself had been invented back in 1964
- MS-DOS: 1981 Microsoft released this hastily written knock-off of Unix.
- Windows: Released in 1985, clearly inspired by Apple’s Macintosh (which, in turn, had been inspired by Xerox PARC).
- Windows NT/2000: finally provided limited multi-user capability by liberally borrowing ideas from the pre-existing VAX VMS and Unix systems.
- Word: Microsoft’s 1983 knock-off of a word processor was based on Lexitron and Linolex (1972), and WordStar and WordPerfect (1979)
- Excel: Microsoft’s product borrowed from the original VisiCalc (1978) and Lotus 1-2-3
- Access: uses Codd’s models, which were developed in 1970 (before Microsoft even existed)
- Internet Explorer: an extension of the older NCSA Mosaic web browser.
- Active Directory: a re-implementation of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), with Microsoft’s proprietary variant of MIT’s Kerberos often being used for identity authentication.
Mr. Wheeler sums it up nicely:
All major Microsoft products are essentially re-implementations of previous products; none are fundamentally innovative.
So, who is dumb enough to pay top-dollar for a second-rate product? Simple: CORPORATIONS. Big businesses are Microsoft’s last stronghold. They are inefficient, bloated organizations incapable of rational thought. Instead of getting stuff done, corporations are designed to feed you coffee and harvest your pee. And these legal “people” are demonstrably psychopaths who buy Microsoft products.
The thing that is fundamentally wrong with some of these products is that they waste enormous amounts of time. Take Internet Explorer as an example (ah yes, bring forth the whipping boy): how many hours, days, weeks, months, or YEARS of man-hours has that browser wasted for web designers and developers? I’m reminded of the burning of the library at Alexandria or the destruction of non-canonical texts by early Christians: how many hundreds (or thousands) of years did that set back civilization? What a waste. And I have to wonder, how many years has Internet Explorer set back our technological civilization? A similar comparison could be made for IIS.
So to wrap this up, I salute NGINX: may their momentum snuff out the IIS’s inefficient bloat-ware once and for all.