Hey, I think Microsoft is perfectly capable of making some really great software, but sssshhh.. I think Internet Explorer is on its way out of dominance. Which isn’t a bad thing. Everyone still uses Windows for other monopolistic reasons, including those which existed when Netscape dominated.
An example of Microsoft’s really good software:
[Microsoft OneNote]:http://www.microsoft.com/office/onenote/prodinfo/default.mspx It seems to have all the stuff I was thinking of when I was telling my friends and family about my note-taking computer idea way back in the mid 1990s. Of course I also said I would only pay $200 for a device which would be replacing a couple years worth of notebooks, pens, markers, and highlighters. It’s still the first polished software realization, and with the tablet PC, it’s the first reasonable solution. Of course, Microsoft will probably try to patent everything in it, like “a software mechanism for a stylus to leave an overlaying colored trail on a touch screen,” because yes, *no one else* would think of letting you highlight stuff. Really.
Anyway, I digress. You probably want to read this [entry at Memex]:http://memex.naughtons.org/2004/07/08.html which talks about how Internet Explorer’s the security-holeyest browser, and how Microsoft needs to keep telling users that the software they have isn’t good enough, and they need to upgrade to the latest flawed Microsoft incarnation. I know, I know… other software is flawed too. So why stick with Microsoft? Open-source software used to be a source of frustration with me, but it keeps becoming a more and more credible alternative.
Examples of good free software:
[OpenOffice.org]:http://openoffice.org still needs some work, but really, I think it’s good enough. Occasionally, it crashes, but only about as much as a system with a slightly buggy device driver.
[MozillaFirefox]:http://mozilla.org/firefox is certainly *better than good enough*, with its 0.9.1 version being one that I’d recommend to my parents, and even my grandparents. Its resistance to popups and spyware alone will give them less overall headache.
[Knoppix]:http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html continues to impress me. With a Knoppix CD, I can boot, read all of my windows files, browse the web, play DVDs and .avis, burn CDs and DVDs, listen to MP3s and streaming music, make office documents, and a bunch of other stuff, ( *here’s the kicker* )without installing or configuring anything. You stick the CD in, and it works. I think Knoppix should have a “mainstream” version that has less features and is a little dumbed down for people who don’t know that they need to run a program called k3b to burn CDs easier than “Easy CD Creator”. Seriously, when I was doing my periodic reinstall of Windows (OS decay and all), I was wondering why I didn’t just use Knoppix instead. But the answer came quickly…. [Monkey Island games]:http://www.worldofmi.com/ need Windows (or Mac, I suppose).