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View Full Version : How to stop Windows from ever getting market dominance. [alternate reality thread]



2cute4u
September 17th, 2008, 12:41 AM
This thread is mostly for fun, but it also is for serious exploration of what if scenarios, and stratagies. it introduces the possibility of a single time travel event, that in the perspective of the thread should be treated as real, but outside of that please don't introduce any other fictional elements. If you want to make a comment that soesn't fit in that alternate reality or is about the thread itself please enclose it within meta tags but try not to have alot of meta discussion, it takes away from the purpose of this thread

On December 15 the RMS time capsule will ready for deployment, unfortunatly it will only be usuable once, due to the damge to silicon chips encountered during temporal shift. It will have limited to a payload capacity of 50 grams of noncunductive material, so it's been determined that 3 CD would be the payload.

the objective of our mission is:
1) Prevent Microsoft from ever gaining market domination with it's Windows product line.

2) Prevent open source from becoming fragmented with multiple incompatible toolkits/GUIs/package managers etc.

3) Prevent standards and software based on legacy code that doesn't take into acount the growth in technology that has occurred up til today, and prevent the need to support obsolete standards.

4) Create an environment that will lead to a single free open source OS, that is so elegant, easy to use, internet based, highly configurable, stable, and resource efficient, that proprietary OS's will have no appeal.

Our mission:

To determine what to put on those 3 CDs, what date to send it back to, and who to send it to.

cardinals_fan
September 17th, 2008, 01:05 AM
4) Create an environment that will lead to a single free open source OS, that is so elegant, easy to use, internet based, highly configurable, stable, and resource efficient, that proprietary OS's will have no appeal.

..and why would I ever want something like that?

phrostbyte
September 17th, 2008, 01:16 AM
Well the easiest answer to that is if IBM never adopted MS-DOS as the OS for their IBM PCs. That had to be, by far, the most moronic business decision in the history of business. Microsoft would quickly fizzle out, as many other software companies did back then.

Now as for an FOSS operating system being dominant, that would be harder. I think the biggest way for that to happen is if Richard Stallman would be a little earlier with starting the FSF, like in the late 1970s. Then I think free software would be dominant, maybe proprietary software wouldn't even exist.

I couldn't explain how to accomplish this within the context of CDs though. :o

northern lights
September 17th, 2008, 01:16 AM
Timetravel is probably the more vital part of this scenario than CDs. You'd have to go to 1980 and convince either SCP (Seattle Computer Products) to not sell the licensing rights of 86-DOS to Microsoft or IBM to not let Microsoft keep them.

Or you could go to 1986 grab Stallmann and Torvalds and send them back another ten years to be ready right when PCs hit the market...


I also have to concur with cardinals_fan seeing little advance in point 4,

RedPandaFox
September 17th, 2008, 01:25 AM
4) Create an environment that will lead to a single free open source OS, that is so elegant, easy to use, internet based, highly configurable, stable, and resource efficient, that proprietary OS's will have no appeal.



..and why would I ever want something like that?

+1 I like the fact we have the freedom to choose what software to use... Isnt that the point of Open source?

2cute4u
September 17th, 2008, 01:45 AM
+1 I like the fact we have the freedom to choose what software to use... Isnt that the point of Open source?
Yes thats the point of open source. the existence of a single OS that is so good, that it's better than anything the proprietary companies put out, doesn't mean you can't choose something else. it just means that the most obvios choice, for the most people, will be a free open source choice, not a proprietary one

2cute4u
September 17th, 2008, 01:59 AM
Timetravel is probably the more vital part of this scenario than CDs. You'd have to go to 1980 and convince either SCP (Seattle Computer Products) to not sell the licensing rights of 86-DOS to Microsoft or IBM to not let Microsoft keep them.


Well the easiest answer to that is if IBM never adopted MS-DOS as the OS for their IBM PCs. That had to be, by far, the most moronic business decision in the history of business. Microsoft would quickly fizzle out, as many other software companies did back then.
Well If something on the CDs we sent would influence that decision that could be a start.


Or you could go to 1986 grab Stallmann and Torvalds and send them back another ten years to be ready right when PCs hit the market...

Now as for an FOSS operating system being dominant, that would be harder. I think the biggest way for that to happen is if Richard Stallman would be a little earlier with starting the FSF, like in the late 1970s. Then I think free software would be dominant, maybe proprietary software wouldn't even exist.

I couldn't explain how to accomplish this within the context of CDs though. :o
Well we can't move Richard Stallman man through time, but we could send him 3 CDs at any point in time, with any open source software and any message, that would fit, maybe he would start the FSF early enough to make a difference. we would have to find an alternate medium that could be read before 1982 though, since CDs didn't exist until then.

Dr. C
September 17th, 2008, 02:06 AM
The CD's would be sent to Richard Stallman with a receipt date of January 1st 1984. We include the license text of the GPL v3 and v2 and LGPL v3 and v2 and any other FLOSS licenses of the software included

We would include the source code to a 100% Free GNU / Linux distribution together with the source code of FreeDOS and as much FLOSS source code that can fit using the strongest possible free software compression tools; however before distributing the software through the time capsule we would upgrade the license to the strongest possible copyleft (eg Apache, FreeBSD code becomes GPLv3 code etc.)

The idea is to give FLOSS a massive competitive head start over its propriety competition.

cardinals_fan
September 17th, 2008, 02:21 AM
Yes thats the point of open source. the existence of a single OS that is so good, that it's better than anything the proprietary companies put out, doesn't mean you can't choose something else. it just means that the most obvios choice, for the most people, will be a free open source choice, not a proprietary one
Fragmentation is good, in my opinion.

2cute4u
September 17th, 2008, 02:29 AM
The CD's would be sent to Richard Stallman with a receipt date of January 1st 1984. We include the license text of the GPL v3 and v2 and LGPL v3 and v2 and any other FLOSS licenses of the software included

We would include the source code to a 100% Free GNU / Linux distribution together with the source code of FreeDOS and as much FLOSS source code that can fit using the strongest possible free software compression tools; however before distributing the software through the time capsule we would upgrade the license to the strongest possible copyleft (eg Apache, FreeBSD code becomes GPLv3 code etc.)

The idea is to give FLOSS a massive competitive head start over its propriety competition.
well lets get more specific, what source code would we send. In 1984 the hardware to run hardy heron didn't exist. We would need to send him several versions, to be able to evolve with the hardware.What packages should be included? We don't want to just dump a bunch of random stuff, we want to choose the best stuff that would best accomplish the objectives. And remember, anything that is proprietary now, that was patented/copyrighted after the date we send the CD's back to, we can make FOSS in the past, if we can get our hands on the source code between now and december 15th.

saulgoode
September 17th, 2008, 02:38 AM
Since CD players did not exist in 1980, the time capsule should hold the following dead-tree letter.


Dr Gary Kildall, CEO
Digital Research, Inc
801 Lighthouse Avenue
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

19 August, 1980

Dear Dr Kildall,

Do not go flying today. Stay home and license CP/M to IBM.

Sincerely,
The Future

bg11
September 17th, 2008, 02:41 AM
The technology to read CDs came along after MS gained dominance. But, since it's a hypothetical, I'd tell someone

1, a few lottery numbers,
2, to start a tech company,
3, aggressively buy out MS as soon as it got started,
4, push the company towards OSS or sabotage its development.

Basically, using their own tactics (sans the time travel aspects) against them for ironic effect.

Btw, you must understand, that by its very nature, OSS has a strong tendency to bifurcate, so a single OSOS would be highly unlikely.

Trenchbroom
September 17th, 2008, 03:03 AM
Since CD players did not exist in 1980, the time capsule should hold the following dead-tree letter.


Dr Gary Kildall, CEO
Digital Research, Inc
801 Lighthouse Avenue
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

19 August, 1980

Dear Dr Kildall,

Do not go flying today. Stay home and license CP/M to IBM.

Sincerely,
The Future

Hilarious!

I watch a lot of Computer Chronicles when I'm bored (often) and it's interesting to see what a nice, pleasant guy Gary was. Which is why he would have never made it to the top, of course. But looking at him you've gotta think how sad it was that he had his shot at the brass ring, missed it to go flying, then gets killed later in life in a bar fight.

Poor guy.

That said (back on topic)--if BSD would have been opened up in the late 80's where there was still a chance to check the transition from MS-DOS to Windows 3.1 (say about the time the 386 was really coming into use--would have dovetailed nicely with the rise of a true 32 bit processor) there would have been a real viable to Microsoft's software; one that would fulfill the promise of Unix. Don't forget that most pundits in the 80's predicted Unix to take over the PC market once the hardware got fast enough to run it; unfortunately everyone tried to corner the market with their own flavor of Unix running on their own hardware.

Trail
September 17th, 2008, 07:54 AM
I'd send a recent 'popular' distro + source code to RMS. (Specifically KDE4/Qt based, because I admire the technological aspect). I'm sure he'd be the best man to handle it.

And tell him not to bother with EMACS.

northern lights
September 17th, 2008, 08:00 AM
I'd send a recent 'popular' distro + source code to RMS. (Specifically KDE4/Qt based, because I admire the technological aspect).
And on what hardware would he run it?


And tell him not to bother with EMACS.
What's wrong with EMACS?
I love it. Favorite editor...

Trail
September 17th, 2008, 12:51 PM
And on what hardware would he run it?

486? Or some dinosaur in a university or something.

But what I had in mind was him getting the source code, mostly, so he could study it. But now that you mention it, C and C++ have changed since back then, so he'd need the 'modern' gcc to compile anything. And it would be very slow :S

aaaantoine
September 17th, 2008, 03:50 PM
If you were going to send code back in time, you would need to send a very lightweight distribution. Something that would run well on a 386 machine, and would still be revolutionary in its time.

The devs would take it from there to the alternate present, and the output would be far more amazing than what we have today. Windows would probably still have majority share, but the mass adoption of desktop Linux would start much sooner.

geoken
September 17th, 2008, 05:24 PM
A big part of Microsoft's early strategy (and success) was to free developers from their current practice of writing software that was extremely platform specific because all the different hardware manufacturers were running their own OSes with their own platform specific API's. Many times the platforms didn't even have API's and developers were coding almost straight to the hardware, the abstraction layer was virtually non existent. Microsoft really pushed the idea of the developer writing the code once, for a consistent set of API's, then leaving the task of adressing hardware up to them, the OS manufacturer.

As much as people want to blame IBM for Microsoft's prominence, Microsoft was part of the reason why IBM became the defacto 'PC'.

DoubleClicker
September 17th, 2008, 11:03 PM
A big part of Microsoft's early strategy (and success) was to free developers from their current practice of writing software that was extremely platform specific because all the different hardware manufacturers were running their own OSes with their own platform specific API's. Many times the platforms didn't even have API's and developers were coding almost straight to the hardware, the abstraction layer was virtually non existent. Microsoft really pushed the idea of the developer writing the code once, for a consistent set of API's, then leaving the task of adressing hardware up to them, the OS manufacturer.

As much as people want to blame IBM for Microsoft's prominence, Microsoft was part of the reason why IBM became the defacto 'PC'.

Actually that was something they learned from Apple. The macintosh API was designed to completely remove any hardware considerations from the application programming. and could have easily been adapted to any hardware giving complete source code compatibility accross all platoforms. The problem was that Jobs and Apple wanted to keep it to themselves, and thus forced microsoft to develop a completely incompatible, in my opinion far inferior API. and then when the LInux/Unix desktops were created they modled themselves after the approach microsoft took. So the blame really lies with Apple for being so extremly controlling of their proprietary software.

DoubleClicker
September 17th, 2008, 11:21 PM
[meta]

the objective of our mission is:
1) Prevent Microsoft from ever gaining market domination with it's Windows product line.

2) Prevent open source from becoming fragmented with multiple incompatible toolkits/GUIs/package managers etc.

3) Prevent standards and software based on legacy code that doesn't take into acount the growth in technology that has occurred up til today, and prevent the need to support obsolete standards.

4) Create an environment that will lead to a single free open source OS, that is so elegant, easy to use, internet based, highly configurable, stable, and resource efficient, that proprietary OS's will have no appeal.

Our mission:

To determine what to put on those 3 CDs, what date to send it back to, and who to send it to.


So far no one seems to be considering the scope of this project. taking a simple tactical approach of sending any random disro back will be totally inefective. This project needs stratigic planning and defining what whe want the computerindustry to be.

What we have today, is the result of evolution, requireing that everything new be built apon what is already established, thus being laden down with an ad hoc mixture of various legacy paadigms and code bases. Here we have the opportunity to undo that and create something that is completely designed to be the best possible, based on what is known today.

The approach needs to be to deterimine what is the best possible computer, paradigm we have today, then work our way backwards, toawrd creating a roadmap from the limitations of the date of intervention, up to todays capabilities. This can't be accomplished by just sending some linux distro. What we need to send is a complete dissertation on the concepts and design of the paradigm we are presenting. If we have code that matches that roadmap, we can send it along too, but enlightening the recipients of the time capsule is the primary key. If they don't have a broad understanding, then the project won't succeed.