imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

BIG NEWS ON MICROSOFT: Slavery to It Is Ending

by Clayton Hallmark Wednesday, May. 18, 2005 at 11:14 AM

The hundred-dollar computer will be the end of Microsoft's dominance and possibly the company itself. Do you care? Can Wal-Mart beat Microsoft? Since you are reading this on a computer, you are a slave to MS and you should care. Freeing us from MS and its robber baron could raise the country's productivity by several points. I'll show how. To have fun, usable, efficient computers, it is necessary. To finally realize the dream that Bill Gates aborted, we need a computer that is: Cheap----Instant-On----Simple----General Purpose. Only India has one, for 0 ("good globalization"). We (the rest of the world) don't. This might not be the machine, but more are coming, and they will starve Microsoft.

mobilis_computer.jpg, image/jpeg, 500x333

0 AND FALLING (See photo.)

(May 17, 2005) Today's "personal computer" is not even a true computer, in that it is not a general-purpose device but a proprietary Wintel device. The PC is a corrupted version of the microcomputer vision that we had in the 1970s. I was there. That vision failed when Microsoft hijacked the microcomputer/small computer/home computer as we variously called it. I will show that we have the tools to take back the vision of the computer as a universally available intellectual tool -- take it back from Bill Gates. I will show that globalization is not all bad. It will take much more than Linux or open software, much more, as explained below.

Famous computer visionary Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab is developing and promoting a 0 laptop with proposed specifications including a 500-MHz processor, 1 GB of memory and an XVGA display. The Indian company Encore Software already is marking a small computer, the Mobilis, with much more modest specs, for about 0. The Mobilis may not have the features many of you want, but it is a crack in the dam. As cheap computers flood the US, upgraded versions soon will appear -- much cheaper because of no MS tax -- and much better. Both of the above computers employ the open-source Linux operating system (OS). These two machines might not change the world, and nonproprietary operating systems other than Linux might become important, but all this shows what is coming.

Bill Gates will become irrelevant going forward, so this is not about him and how he got where he is. What will kill Microsoft is truly cheap computers. A computer that sells for a C-note, that is, 0, or even for 0, cannot be the basis for a profitable Microsoft. There simply isn't enough money in it. The way to break the MS hammerlock is to starve them out. I use Mozilla and I buy only used computers. I do not benefit Microsoft at all. That is only the beginning.


The Indian Mobilis has some of them. They include:

1. Nonproprietary (free) operating system (NPOS) and nonproprietary (free) applications -- word processor, browser, etc.. This would make the small computer a general-purpose device, as a computer should be -- not tied to Microsoft. Above all, the small computer must AVOID MICROSOFT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND BE ABLE TO PROVE THIS IN A COURT OF LAW. Microsoft basically is a publishing company full of lawyers. (Did you ever see a publishing company get this big or a publisher get as wealthy? Not even Hearst of "Citizen Kane." They exploit the law and technological ignorance.)

2. Instant-on operation -- no waiting for the OS to load from a hard drive. Keep the OS small enough to fit in nonvolatile solid-state memory.

3. At last, an ELECTRONIC computer. What we have now, the PC, includes an electromechanical device, the motorized hard drive -- an electromagnetic device like the relays in the Harvard Mark I of 1943. With "general purposeness" and all-electronic operation (OS on chips, not a disk drive), we would finally have something that meets the definition of a real electronic computer.

4. Simplicity. Since the operating system would be on semiconductor chips, it would be much smaller than the monstrous "whatever the traffic will bear" Windows. A small operating system is a simple one. Remember DOS and the early computers? To start "computing" (limited, admittedly), one had only to know how to turn on the power switch and insert the boot disk. Computer simplicity alone could add several points to the nation's labor productivity.

5. Software drivers for common hardware such as Epson printers and HP scanners. Ability to view, print, edit, and exchange files in Microsoft formats (.doc, .xls, etc.) and to convert to and from standard file formats, including proprietary ones where legal.


Of course they are, and Microsoft cannot do anything about this. India already has the Linux-based Mobilis that sells for 0US. It is simple to use because it is a simple machine. It has to be simple because you cannot build Wintel complexity into a 0 computer. And you can't build a MS Windows computer for 0, much less 0. Who needs Windows? We really need to ask.

"What this country needs is a good C-note computer." [I said.] Can we have it? Yes, and Wal-Mart could bring it to us. With that company's merchandising clout, it probably could hope to market profitably a small computer such as the Indian one for 0. Since Wal-Mart is a global operation, there is a strong incentive to do this. The MIT Media Lab is developing a 0 laptop now. Via Technologies of Taiwan offers very low cost computers. And (Wal-Mart's e-commerce site) already offers a 8 laptop that is actually OS-less -- you chose from Linux or Windows. It is only a matter of time before the computer becomes a commodity available at the nearest Wal-Mart store for 0 or 0. I have a twelve-band short-wave radio from China via Odd Lots. A few years ago I would have had to pay over 0 for a Grundig set to get this functionality and quality (no better, and I have been at this for many years). I wouldn't have believed it economically possible until I saw it and grabbed it.

Could Microsoft stop Wal-Mart? No. Microsoft really is just a windbag (puffing 10 times more features than you need for 10 times the price) and a moneybag (lots of cash and market capitalization). If Wal-Mart doesn't do it first, someone else will.


It comes from Encore Software of Bangalore. It has a small VGA (a color-screen standard) LCD screen and rollup keyboard, weighs about one and a half pounds (three-fourths of a kilogram) and opens up to a desktop configuration. It has flash memory (electronically erasable, programmable read-only memory), lots of it, and no hard drive.

The software is based on Linux and developments sponsored by the government of India. Already it has the most-used applications of a computer: word-processing, email, Web browsing, and a spreadsheet. Nonproprietary software and all-electronic operation provide, finally, a real computer for home and office use.


Cheap nonvolatile semiconductor memory is making it possible to put the OS on chips and eliminate the hard drive, as in the Mobilis. Abandoning the hard drive precludes the use of bloated monstrosities like Windows XP, which squanders 64 MB of storage with bundled application programs, some of which you probably haven't even noticed, and with bells and whistles that are "helpful" like too many cooks in the kitchen.

The game that MS and Intel have used to amass huge capital, and power (but I repeat myself), is reminiscent of the Fifties and Sixties "horsepower race" of American car companies (foolishly reprised with SUVs, a 108-day supply on car lots now). Microsoft develops a new operating system that works less than optimally on current computers. Then Intel designs a new microprocessor with a higher level of integration (a much greater density of circuit components) and enough power to run the latest generation of Windows. A few years later, MS raises the ante and we are in for another round of computer replacements (those of you who fall for this). The rest (non-MS part) of the software industry mainly is engaged in making applications programs -- new programs for work and entertainment -- that exploit the increased power of the Intel and Windows hardware and software. Microsoft bundles as much software with Windows as the traffic, or price, will bear -- making Windows as expensive and problem-prone as they can get away with.

Of course it can be either Intel or Microsoft that initiates the next round of planned obsolescence in computers.

How ridiculous is this? Consider the amount of memory needed to accommodate various operating systems. The following shows how operating systems have grown (the amount of RAM required by operating sytems). Most of the growth since Microsoft got involved with MS-DOS version 1.0 has been the result of the Microsoft-Intel horsepower race (between themselves and the public's gullibility). Basically this is in reverse chronological order (most recent first):

Windows XP ---------------------------- 64MB

Linux Red Hat (Unix clone) -------- 32 MB

Apple Mac OS 8.6 -------------------- 24 MB

Windows 98 --------------------------- 24 MB

Windows 95 ----------------------------- 8 MB

Commodore Amiga OS 3.5 --------- 8 MB

Windows 3.11 --------------------------- 3 MB

Apple Lisa -------------------------------- 1 MB

MS-DOS 6.22 ------------------------- 512 KB

Windows CE (for Pocket PC) ----- 512 KB (in ROM)

Apple Mackintosh OS 1.0 ---------- 128 KB

CP/M --------------------------------------- 20 KB

MS-DOS 1.0 ----------------------------- 16 KB

TRS-DOS (Radio Shack) -------------- 4 KB

Sixty-four megabytes for the operating system is "the dumbest darned thing I have ever heard of!" (Bill Gates rhetoric I cleaned up). The OS should fit on an inexpensive amount of flash memory. Eliminating the hard drive gets rid of a lot of cost and Windows to boot (no pun).

I wrote a book in the late 1970s (see list at end) that discussed Tandy Leather Company's offering, the Tandy-Radio Shack TRS-80. A few years before that, I remember programming microcomputers, as we called them then, bit by bit -- this was basically a microprocessor development system using machine language. I remember my relief a year or so later when I could build a Heathkit H8 and program it four bits at a time using a hexadecimal keypad -- this was basically a microprocessor development system or demonstrator. I remember Don Lancaster's "TV Typewriter" in the mid Seventies -- this was basically a dumb terminal. It could be coupled to a time-sharing computer system, but mostly it was used just for displaying 512 characters on a screen and for amateur experimentation (chatting by text via ham radio, for example). Then, in the late Seventies, with the TRS-80 and its contemporaries, which melded CRT screen and keyboard, it was possible to program a home computer in a higher level language at last, BASIC. At the time, our dreams for computing didn't go much beyond balancing your checkbook (I never heard of anyone actually doing this with those relics). This was an era of open systems 35 years ago: Many people designed operating systems for the TRS-80.

While we were playing with these things and naming ourselves "hackers" after model railroaders who hard-wired complex train controls beneath their layout tables (no connotation of malware back then), Doug Engelbart was fathering the mouse and graphical user interface (he invented windows with a small "w") at Xerox in Palo Alto. Theodor Nelson (the man who coined the word "hypertext" as in http and html) was dreaming of the useful and usable computers we still don't have -- and of something like the Web and Marshall McLuhan's "everything all at once." Nelson dreamed of putting the corpus of human knowledge on the equivalent of an e-commerce site (which Google seems headed towards finally). We all were dreaming of useful and usable computers for the masses -- and we still don't have them, thanks to Microsoft, Intel, and people of small technogical visions and large greed. At this time (the Seventies) Bill Gates was dreaming of how to make money with software while most others were counting on doing it with hardware. He never lost his lead at this, but his company never invented anything significant. The last time I was thrilled by his company was when they came out with MS-BASIC.


Progress toward the dream -- cheap, simple, real computers -- will begin again when the cultural imperative becomes global and bigger than Microsoft. This will not be good for Microsoft, but it will be for nearly everyone else. This is about a kind of freedom. The time is at hand.


Microsoft's leading executive, CEO Steve Ballmer, is trotting about the globe "warning nations about the potential for patent lawsuits if they use Linux." This is sovereign nations Ballmer (maybe we should add an "s" in his name) is addressing. The sovereign State of Microsoft knows no limits to its boldness, but Ballmer and Gates and company are harboring an illusory hope if they think they can duplicate in the world at large their US marketing windfall.

The Mobilis could become the MobilUS, and when it or some other cheap, simple, real computer hits our shores, the emperor of Microsoft will be exposed (financially, too) and we will be on our way toward much, much more useful computers.


"Microelectronics" (1976) -- Probably one of the earliest books with "microelectronics" in the title.

"Computerist's Handy Databook-Dictionary" (1979) -- Yes, that's what we sometimes called computer users then.

"Computerist's Handy Manual" (1979) -- This shows how much less visionary I was than Engelbart, Nelson, and Gates.

0 AND FALLING (See photo.)

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 12 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
How to Get a Free Computer free computer guy Friday, May. 20, 2005 at 12:23 PM
Negroponte wiki Wednesday, May. 25, 2005 at 10:25 PM
Dr. prochiro Saturday, Apr. 08, 2006 at 7:28 AM

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy