Monday, 30 June 2008

Bill of Gates

It's... strange. Starting tomorrow, Bill Gates will "transition out" of his role at Microsoft, allegedly to work more actively at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. That's their charity thingy, mind you, if you didn't know.

Having been born in the glorious year 1982, I grew up with the knowledge that Gates is "the richest man in the world", even if he's now just the 3rd richest, poor thing. And I pretty much 'transitioned' myself from thinking he was the bee's knees, during the '80s, when all that was new and shiny, to evil incarnate, knowing that the world around me constantly found more and more reasons to hate the guy.

The reason for the latter seems to be, in my book, that Windows pretty much suck. On many levels, but mostly 'underneath', the way the whole OS works. And the reason for that is evident, and goes waaay back, with the deal that had him buy MS DOS, some random OS from some random company, to give to IBM, since, as we all know, he had an agreement with them to do so, without having an OS.

And, yes, it seems to me that he spent all his life after that, until now, using his business sense to cover that mistake with the icing needed to make his 'vision' work, pretty much, on a sucky base. And, I must say, quite a glorious vision that was: "a personal computer on every desk and in every home". I can't count the times I've quoted that, in different contexts, too. And it's defined the present, on many levels, to a great degree. Glorious.

Yes, he's probably the only dork I know of who is so dorky yet still has such business acumen. 'S true. And business acumen was so hot during the '80s, yes it was. I still think Windows suck, mind you. But I can't help feeling that it's the end of an era, and that Gates is an... OK guy. Or, at least, that he's not worth all the hate he gets, not personally, as a person, personifying the object of all our hate.

At least he's trying to make up for it now. And we've reached the point where we pretty much have a PC everywhere, even if the kids in developing countries were given, quite charitably, a bunch of laptops with an open source OS. Much to Gates' disdain, too, because his business sense obviously overrides his charity sense. Which is 'normal', since it even overrides his common sense, thus branding him a dork.

But I'm the kind of person who's learned to overlook a dork's negative, or annoying, qualities, going for the good qualities that they always keep hidden underneath. And, yes, I'll miss Bill Gates. There, I said it.

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