Joe Ganley
Writing code since 1979
I have been a professional software engineer for over 10 years. I have written many kinds of software, but my particular strengths are interactive graphics applications, compilers and interpreters, and algorithms.

I also enjoy writing, woodworking, and home improvement. Also this.


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Wednesday, August 15, 2001

With the recent
20-year anniversary of the original IBM PC, several times I've heard the old story of how IBM first approached Digital Research to buy DR-DOS, but Digital Research didn't like their terms, so they went and bought MS-DOS from Microsoft instead. I find myself wondering how the world would look now if DR hadn't made that mistake. Would they, or some other hegemony, have created the same sort of mediocre near-homogeneity we see now? Or would the OS market be fragmented into a bunch of legitimate choices? Would that be a good thing or a bad one? Certainly it seems to me it would be a good thing if great operating systems like the BeOS stood a chance: could get enough market share that significant third-party developers would write for them. Probably Apple would be a greater power than they are now, though certainly many of their mistakes are no fault of Microsoft's. Also, Go might still be around, and then who knows what the PDA market might look like now? Certainly the world would be a different place than it is now, and I guess I have to think that it would be a better one, absent Microsoft's strong-arm business tactics and their attitude of market share at all costs, that it's just fine to ship lousy software as long as people will still buy it, and that it's better to add a feature that will entice more people to buy than to fix a bug that annoys zillions of people, but few of them badly enough to make them go to a competitor (where there even is one).

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