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Letters So Bill Gates is off to pastures new and charitable. What does this mean for Microsoft, what does it mean for Linux? But more importantly, what does it mean for Mountain Gorillas?

Bill Gates always talking about corporate law at the breakfast table? Now it all makes sense. Thanks for that insight. So what was Steve Jobs talking about? :)

Mark


"Permanently...." (solve the Linux problem)

So I seems Gates becomes a higher power in the same way that "Old Dad" Skywalker becomes Darth Vader? I can already hear the rasping breath of Bill: "You have foiled me for the last time ... Pinguin!!"

More seriously, what's he gonna do? Throw patents are enthusiasts? Taunt them from the roof of the Gates Mansion? Force Congress (which apparently can be convinced to do just about anything) to make open hardware platforms illegal, then force the EU (always happy to bend over) to follow suit?

I "solving the Linux problem" means "pushing Vista into datacenters", then I agree that sounds like a goal that makes some sense. Whether it will succeed only time can tell. There is still Sun, Oracle, EMC, BSD Unix and whatnot, and I'm still waiting for the big Eastern Software Potential to erupt and mix the cards afresh. Or maybe people will realize that they don't want nor need a complicated Rube Goldberg device to manage their hardware.

Best regards,

-- David


> "People think of me as this technical guy," Bill Gates once told me. > "In fact, the important point to remember about my background is the fact > that I was brought up to be a lawyer. My family are all corporate lawyers, > and the conversation at every breakfast was always over the latest legal > developments in the business space. You might say it's in my blood."

Maybe that explains why he is so very, very bad at designing simple, usable UIs, workable, scalable software, or in fact anything other than EULAs which grant him the right to the bone marrow of every human on Earth. It also explains why Microsoft spends more on lawyers than it does on coders.

A Natural Born Lawyer? Shudder.

- Jasmine


I like the Douglas Adams anecdote, but to me it rather seems to illustrate not just Gates' undoubted concern and generosity but also something of a broken perspective. His question is based on the assumption that if someone is willing to give enough money, someone else can, using that money, solve the 'mountain gorilla problem' forever and ever and we can all go back to ignoring the mountain gorillas. Conservation doesn't work like that - it's a fundamentally ongoing process which requires the continued attention of both conservators and the general public who are connected to the species in question.

Draw your own parallels with Microsoft issues, notably security, which is also fundamentally an ongoing process which requires continued attention from both developers and users...I wonder if Bill Gates got a mid-level executive into a meeting somewhere back in 1997, said "how much do you need to fix the security problem, permanently?", then went back to designing things like ActiveX and Office macros...

Adam


Some suggestions as to the root causes of NPfIT's problems:

Dear Sir,

Your slavish adherence to mere accounting information reveals a serious shortcoming in your understanding of technical matters. The technician's tool, of course, is algebra. We know, naturally, that the actual cost is equal to the budget. With "a" being actual cost and "b" budget, this can be stated as:

a = b Multiply both sides by a, and a^2 = ab Subtracting b^2 from both sides gives a^2 - b^2 = ab - b^2 This can be factorised as (a + b)(a - b) = b(a - b) Divide both sides by (a - b) to get a + b = b Since a = b, as we said all along 2b = a Clearly, therefore, there is no problem.

Yours sincerely (or almost),

John Davies

Smartie-pants points, but no other kind of kudos, if you know why this algebra doesn't actually work. You don't need to tell us, just feel pleased with yourself.


Mr Davies, we stand corrected in light of your superior knowledge of government accounting techniques. We do wonder, however, if your analysis is a little overcooked - perhaps like most government books, but that's beside the point. You are perhaps forgetting every learned gentleman's essential companion, Occam's razor, which would remind him, should he embarrass himself with a little gas, that some self control can do wonders for one's social standing. With that in mind, can we suggest an alternative analysis:

f1: If there's an IT project that offers the temptation of political capital then common sense goes out the window Or, ( P ^ Q ) -> R In relation to the National Programme for IT, f2: It's an IT project f3: It offers political capital that is rather tempting Therefore f4: Common sense has gone out of the window

Anon


You can buy a sh...shed load of computers for 12 billion. Obviously it's not being spent on hardware. I wonder what it is being spent on. After all, it's nothing more than a jumped up hotel booking system and a web server...

Geoff Lane


Isn't the entire revitalisation of our countries train infrastructure only costing £8bn? How can the fools justify that plus a further 50%, just for a bunch of computers? Shocking, a complete waste of taxpayer money :(

Alex Howells

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