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Hating Microsoft

In mailing list discussions I’ve seen Windows users get rather unhappy when people talk about “Hating Microsoft“, this often includes claims that it’s supposedly “unprofessional” to hate one vendor. Some go as far as to claim that it’s a good idea to avoid hiring someone who says that they Hate Microsoft – not that I would want to work for anyone who would reject someone’s CV based on a mailing list discussion.

The thing that they need to understand is that when someone says “I Hate Microsoft” it’s usually in a similar manner to someone saying “I Hate Broccoli“, it’s more of an expression of distaste than real hatred. The IHateMicrosoft.com site has animated pictures resembling nuclear explosions [1], which is good for a laugh (the site also lists some real reasons for avoiding MS). But there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of real hatred for MS, even in the US there doesn’t appear to be anyone wanting to use violence to solve the MS problem.

Abortion doctors are hated, MS isn’t.

The next thing that people need to know is that a significant portion of the “I Hate Microsoft” sentiment comes from people who spend about 40 hours a week being paid to use MS software. I am fortunate that it’s been a few years since I have had to use MS software in any way and many years since I was forced to use it in any serious way (IE anything other than using Windows as a SSH and email client), so I have little immediate need to get angry at them. But people who are forced to use or support MS software on a daily basis will often get unhappy about the situation.

It’s little things like an ActiveX bug that exposes Outlook and Internet Explorer to remote comprose [2] that can really annoy people, there was never a need for ActiveX and certainly never a need to have it work via email or be enabled by default. But MS released their software to work in that way and now all the users have to wait patiently for a fix (or scramble for a work-around).

Another issue that seems to get some complaints is the use of terms such as “M$” and “Microsloth” to refer to Microsoft. If that annoys you then please get a grip on yourself! It’s a software company not a religion! Official company documents should have all trademarks spelled correctly, but for casual discussion on a mailing list I think that such slang terms are appropriate. If nothing else you can take it as a declaration of possible bias.

I don’t use such terms, but again that may be because I am fortunate enough to not use MS software. When someone is unable to avoid using inferior software due to the anti-competitive actions of MS it is understandable that they may vent their frustration by misusing trademarked names.

Remember that English is a lot different from any language to use when programming computers. Using “M$” instead of “Microsoft” will not give a syntax error or an error about using an undeclared variable. The word “hate” has different meanings depending on context.

13 comments to Hating Microsoft

  • tek

    People do get precious don’t they? I hate and love all equally :o)

  • Michael "I hate IE" Howell

    If you really want to know what it’s like hating MS, try writing, from scratch, a web page of any complexity. Everybody hates IE.

    I try to avoid using Microsuck, M$, Microsloth, but sometimes they seem to earn it.

  • nrg

    Ironically, there’s a Microsoft advert as the header of this article.

  • Anonymous

    Personally, I find most of the slang terms for Microsoft fairly childish, and I avoid them mostly because they suggest a certain mindset which I don’t actually hold. On that topic I like Linus’s view: “Really, I’m not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect.”

    However, I can’t help but like the term “Micros~1″, because it uses one of Microsoft’s own technical shortcomings to make fun of them. :) (And a *patented* technical shortcoming, no less. :) )

  • etbe

    nrg: I’m happy to make $0.12 per click when people read my blog and want to read about MS CRM or anything else they choose to advertise.

    Anon: I agree that it can be seen as childish, and I also try to avoid them for the same reasons. Linus does make a good point.

    But we have to respect the position of Michael Howell. If the use of some terms that could be considered childish helps him deal with the difficult task of making interoperable web sites then I’m happy for him to do so.

    “Micros~1″ is amusing.

  • I’m just going to add one slight rider – if you get upset at people using HP-SUX, Slowlaris, Lunix, Loonix, FreeBSoD, Crap OS X or other derogatory slang terms for your non-Microsoft OS of choice, you should not be using slang terms for Microsoft’s products.

  • etbe

    Simon: Fair point. But so far my observation is that Linux people are more tolerant of name-calling than Windows fans.

  • cuzzies, OS is a choice, you don’t like M$ dont choose it, likewise OSX, MAC or GNU/Linux etc. Strewth, if you cant sas one from another wtf you doing looking for an OS firstly. GNU/Linux exists as a choice only, not a frikken revolution, if it happens it’s through user choices. Points I like in GNU, though I use m$ for certain purposes as secondary OS, GNU/Linux doesn’t FORCE Norton down your throat when you install, it doesn’t FORCE IE8,9.10, MSN Lve, Windows Mail, Windows Defender Outlook Express whatever. Gnu you can just install what you want, not tricked into contracts for software that cant be removed. But hey GNU/Linux was only created due to Microsoft monolpoly firstly so ‘we can actuallay thank Bill’ for the sucess of GNU!

  • etbe

    Stevo: In a work environment the workers don’t get a choice of OS. The majority of managers choose MS software and force their technical employees to try and clean up the mess, this results in a lot of frustration.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Stallman
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Software_Foundation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Microsoft_Windows_versions
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bsd

    RMS started free software development at about the same time that MS was founded (mid 70’s). The Free Software Foundation was founded in 1985 – the same year as MS-Windows 1.01 was released. The first version of MS-Windows to become popular was 3.0 which was released in 1990. The first server version of Windows was NT 3.1 (AKA Windows 1.0) which was released in 1993 – about a year after Linux was working well as a fully functional multi-user server OS.

    BSD Unix was first released in 1977. Much of the code that we use on Linux originated in BSD Unix.

    Really we have nothing to thank Bill for.

  • AlphaG

    interestingly I was brought up with the word “hate” was the equivalent of the worst swearing you could speak, it was always conveyed to me hate was a concept where you would be willing to take a life to stop it, being such a strong feeling.

    I am not sure all the discussion about M$, sandle wearing ponytails etc really does drive a love and hate relationship but people are all very prescious about this stuff. Get over it, the world is full of many choices and there is always something much worse than what you need to cope with

  • etbe

    AlphaG: That’s a literal meaning of the word and closely matches my dictionary. But we have to accept the fact that lots of people tell us that they “hate broccoli”.

  • AlphaG

    Having a mother born in Germany 1933 the daughter of a Jew certainly helped me to understand what it feels like to receive hatred and what that meant for her, hence the way I was taught and brought up and how I raise my kids. Of course to each their own and I don’t judge people for what they believe but I might not associate myself with them.

  • etbe

    AlphaG: I respect your position, but I think that you are being overly pedantic about the use of language. Languages change and we have to deal with new usages, for example it used to be that it was acceptable to use certain words to denigrate people of other races while blasphemy was considered to be really bad – now the “N word” is considered to be entirely unacceptable in almost every context while most blasphemy is widely accepted.

    Choosing to not associate with people because they say “I hate broccoli” or “I hate Microsoft” seems like a great overreaction. If however they were to say “I hate broccoli eaters” or “I hate Windows users” then you would have a point.