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  • Originally posted by Bubbles_by_day View Post

    You are applying black-or-white/fandboy/dogmatic thinking to a large world of nuance and complexity. Microsoft isn't "Evil". They are an organization of 140,000 people full of drama, power struggles, internal conflict, disagreements, competing goals, terrible decisions, good decisions, failures, successes. They are no more or less "Evil" than any other large collection of human beings working towards common objectives, including surviving and/or thriving.

    Many have argued that if a company (any company) was a person, they'd be diagnosed as sociopathic. I find no fault in that idea. Like "The Cube", it's end results nudged by thousands of well-intentioned hands that can wind up causing broader social harm. Sometimes charismatic leaders can shift that internal tension towards more good or more harm, but the more you internalize the notion that almost no one is the villain in their own narrative, the less paranoid you'll tend to be and the happier and more positively productive you'll find yourself. ("You" speaking generally. I can't comment on you personally other than what you just wrote.) I was never a fan of Ballmer. Bill Gates, while as flawed as any human, has literally saved millions of lives single-handedly (at least in terms of decisions, influence, and bringing capital to bear). Is he "Evil"?

    Is Linus Torvalds "Evil"? Many people say so. I'd say he's said and done some crappy things. But he's just a poop-flinging monkey like the rest of us, that some choose to worship as a brilliant celebrity, sometimes even god-like, for some weird reason. (Inasmuch as celebrity-worship at all is dumb.) He's a bright guy who did the right thing at the right time. Opportunity met preparation, so to speak. Some would say he fosters a bullying culture and hostile working environment. Maybe so. Maybe not. I haven't worked with/for/near him. Personally, I find some of the news reports involving him repugnant, but take with a heaping grain of salt, and it doesn't directly affect me.

    Regardless, never attribute to evil, what can be explained by incompetence or other factors. At least, if you don't want to be a functional adult capable of experiencing occasional serenity.

    I worked for microsoft until 2009. No one I worked with, up and down the chain of command, believed they were doing "Evil". Quite the opposite, most people found joy, meaning, and some level of altruism in their work. Few people hated their job there, on balance. Microsoft is exactly like every other large, reasonably successful organization comprised of arguably "high-functioning" primates. (But with better food.)

    People need to feel like they belong to a tribe and feel good about their work, and that happens both organically and by design at every big organization, whether a for-profit company, or looser organization of unpaid volunteers that is long-lived and successful in their objectives. And like most companies, Microsoft routinely shoots themselves in the foot with internal politics and misaligned interdepartmental objectives, even highly internally destructive power struggles that net result in compromised market effectivness. The point is, there's no grand internal conspiracy to be evil.

    The culture and processes any large organization follows are practically identical to each other at any given point in time. People migrate to and from companies and organizations. Linux kernel developer today, Microsoft Research tomorrow. Then Red Hat the next day. I've worked at several leading companies (and many startups). Some of the hands-down smartest people I've ever met in my many years on this rock, were at Microsoft Research. And they contribute to most Microsoft Products - and all the big ones - it's not just basic research.

    Yes, plenty of companies have been exposed to have made top-down decisions seen in hindsight and soundbytes, to be evil. Like "Embrace Extend Extinguish" (which, conspiracy theories aside, isn't a thing any more and never was in such simplistic terms - but not a finest moment by any stretch). Google drives me nuts by canceling every product I've ever come to rely on from them. Apple makes arguably the most secure and privacy-focused phone OS (arguably among any OS), but flaws and terrible privacy decisions are routinely exposed.

    Misuse of Facebook and social media in general has directly lead to the slaughter of countless lives in Myanmar, thrown elections, and caused unimaginable havoc and suffering.

    Is any of that intentionally evil? Or are we just a bunch of frightened monkeys somehow trying to "work together", all of us banging on keyboards trying to make a living writing software, ignorant of the broader consequences of our efforts to simultaneously 1) support our families, 2) "make a dent in the universe", and 3) do good for the world, starting with our family and emanating outwards in concentric circles of compassion in hierarchical importance to each of us?

    I have friends that do and/or have worked for Google, Apple, Oracle, Peoplesoft, Facebook, BlackRock, and other big tech and/or finance companies in the valley and Seattle area. (And a middle-manager in a major investment bank implicated in the '08 crash.) None of them are evil, to my knowledge. And yet every single company has done, or allowed to happen due to incompetence or neglect (and very, very occasionally purposefully organized malice with awareness of knock-on effects), Very Bad Things.

    As for running Linux in a VM on Windows or vice-versa. You say it's a bad idea. For whom? How do you know it's a bad idea for anyone but you? If you don't like it, fine, don't do it. But to many, it's a professional necessary, and/or joyful solution. And there's a good reason why so much development effort has been put into consumer-grade desktop virtualization on every major platform.

    Which is alone enough evidence for any skeptical inquirer to regard your opinion as "uninformed" at best, to "idiotic" at worst. (I'd be inclined to go with the former for benefit of doubt.)

    The only indisputable fact here is that any software, especially an incredibly complex operating system with millions of lines of code, will have exploitable flaws. The method of licensing, distribution, and developer compensation is irrelevant to that point.

    Anything else is open for debate.

    Even machines of war and space exploration are routinely crippled with software flaws.

    Windows is insecure and buggy? By what criterion?

    In absolute terms, absolutely there are and always will be exploitable flaws. In Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android, iOS, ChromeOS, et. al.

    Or do you mean relative to Linux? ...Not relative to source code line count. (Which, in my mind, is the only fair method of evaluating quality of code. You may have different criterea. C'est la vie.)

    And according to many objective studies at various points along OS evolution, Windows is more secure and less buggy, than Linux or MacOS even in absolute terms. It depends on when the study is done, their measurable, objective criteria which will always imperfectly model fuzzier specific real-world use-cases, methodology of data analyses, and weighting. Sometimes Windows wins. Sometimes it loses. Sometimes it loses by a small amount, sometimes big. Maybe metastudies would show it losing more than winning. It's all nuance and shades of gray.

    But when user behavior is orders of magnitude the biggest single factor in software security, does it really matter if OS xyz loses some fraction more technical security comparisons than others? (Maybe for some. Not for me.)

    Black or white thinking is a security blanket for people too emotionally undeveloped to face the harsh reality that there is no heaven for the pure or hell for the wicked.

    The only certain black-or-white argument you could make (and be taken seriously), is that Windows the most risky, security-wise, due to size of installed base and therefore target of opportunity.

    But to just call any OS "buggy and virus-prone" because you don't like it and think the company is monolithically/monochromatically "Evil", betrays a fundamental ignorance about large-scale software development, and a deeply flawed, rigid, dogmatic, and emotionally immature thought process. (Which would be fine if you were ten years old. Maybe you are, in which case - congratulations on being on-track for hominid brain development. Unfortunately it's only going to get incrementally better, mostly in the area of fleeting self-awareness of your deeply ingrained and myriad cognitive biases and logical fallacies...if you're lucky.)
    TMI, "too much info"

    I guess it depends on how you want to define evil....

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evil

    MS fits the definition of 1,B 2,A 2,B 2,C and 3,A - Pretty sure it can be conclusively called Evil.....

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